This month, Hilary Kirk, CESL’s favorite British ESL instructor, is celebrating her 6th year here at the Center for English as a Second Language at OU. Anytime you enter Hilary’s classroom, she is ready to greet you with her cheery personality and a warm cup of tea. After spending just a short amount of time with her, you will likely find that she likes the color red. You will often see her in her red boots and a matching red outfit. She is kind, encouraging, and always prepared to teach.
Hilary has a vast amount of experience teaching languages. Not only has she taught English, but she has also taught Italian, French, and German. She has lived and traveled many places around the world until finally settling here in Norman, Oklahoma, with her family. We interviewed Hilary so she can tell us in her own words more about herself.
Where are you from and where did you originally attend college?
I am originally from London, England, and I attended college in Manchester, in the north of England. However, at this point I have lived almost half of my life in different countries. I came to the U.S. 6 years ago. I love living in Norman, Oklahoma!
Growing up, what did you think you would be doing or what did you want to be?
When I was a child I wanted to work in a flower shop, arranging and selling flowers!
Who has been your greatest influence in life?
I think the person who has had the greatest influence on my life was my grandmother. Ever since I was a young child people told me I was like her and that always made me very happy because I thought she was wonderful! She studied chemistry at university even though her father told her women should not study. (She was the only woman studying chemistry in the whole university!) Her husband died when their two children were young and she brought them up on her own. Then, when she was 85 years old, she remarried and lived happily until she was 100!
What is your favorite hobby/way to spend your spare time?
I love to ride my bike with my family, go for walks, sing, invite my friends to eat at my house and read, mostly non-fiction.
What's the best advice you would give to an aspiring educator?
Enjoy yourself! If you don’t have any fun, neither will your students. And people learn better when they are happy.
Do you have any advice for prospective students or current students?
Find things to do on the weekend. Try to meet people and see new things.
What profound changes do you see coming to your field within the next 10 years?
In the next ten years maybe someone will succeed in teaching a computer how to grade written homework. I’m not sure if that would be good or bad: I don’t want to lose my job!
What is the best part about being a CESL faculty member?
My students! Thank you all for making this a great place to work!
Learn more about the intensive English program at the Center for English as a Second Language.