“I want PROJECT-E to know that I am not only here as an English teacher but I am really passionate about what I do – I want to be a role model and inspiration for the students!”
Today we would like to introduce you to a very motivational woman: Betelhem Taye, called by everyone Betey, the new English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor for the level 1 and 2 students at the PROJECT-E Hospitality Institute (PEHI) in Addis Ababa. Holding a Masters Degree in English Language Teaching specialising in Teachers Education Development from the University of Warwick, over the last few years Betey has worked as a journalist, ESL teacher at an American organization, and as a teacher trainer at the British Council. Currently, she is an English Language Subject specialist in a private school in Addis, gives trainings on public speaking and presentation skills to NGOs, and is engaged on the side as a documentary producer and moderator.
As a young mother of two who is involved in three different weekly jobs as a teacher and trainer, Betey is a real power woman! Betey wanted to join PROJECT-E because she perceives herself as a woman who is dedicated to helping other women to become stronger. “I am a hard working person. I do a lot which makes me stronger day by day. Unless you are a hard worker and have strong confidence, you cannot inspire others. I think that I will positively influence my students to become stronger in their daily lives,” she states.
Betey’s confident and strong attitude is reflected in her personal story, which she shared with us, about winning a honorary scholarship for her studies in the UK. To win the scholarship – which was only dedicated to two people – Betey had to go through a tight competition. Additionally, since she was pregnant with her second child during the scholarship application process, she was forced to reapply and defend her scholarship: despite the fact that the officials did not accept her claims, she remained persistent about her right to secure her honorary scholarship for the following year as she was, in her words, “simply doing what women do all over the world”. She wrote to the responsible headquarters and, in the end, Betey was successful in deferring her scholarship. This shows that instead of giving up, with the belief in oneself and remaining strong and persistent, desired results can be successfully achieved! To pursuit the Masters degree in the UK Betey had to go through difficult decisions and a difficult time, leaving her 6 month old baby, family and jobs behind. When she returned to Ethiopia, her old life was very different but the entire process taught her that “life has its ups and downs and its how you handle it that matters”.
With her actions and personality she truly defeats the Ethiopian stereotype that “you can’t be a wife and mother and, in the same time, also have a career and do many things that you are passionate about”. By sharing her personal experiences and life stories with the students she hopes to inspire and empower them to become more confident women. Therefore, Betey sees her involvement at PE not only as an English teacher, but also as a role model who works towards changing the perception of the student’s lives and abilities to dream big, work hard, remain strong and ultimately achieve their goals.
Concerning her work at PEHI, Betey is looking with very much excitement forward to the future time she will spend with the students. Thereby, she is using her pedagogical skills for different purposes in oder to build the confidence of the young women in using the English language which is essential for their professional life later on in the hospitality sector. For instance, she implemented a dialogue journal with the Year 2 students to train their English communication abilities. The journal is a way for the students to combine English learning with sharing of private matters and problems. Thus, Betey gets to understand the students better and contributes to the establishment of a culture of sharing with others which is very important for a healthy and confident mindset. Betey points out: “I love this attachment I have with the students and I feel like I am not only helping them with the English language but also their life skills. Some of them come from difficult situations, and they hold this wrong attitude and perception of their own abilities that they have been unable to unleash. Through the dialogue journal I teach them to communicate their inner thoughts and I can see it makes a difference which makes me very happy!”
We are glad to have such a strong woman like Betty in our PROJECT-E team, who is very passionate about teaching and empowering the students at PEHI and works towards making a long-lasting positive difference in their lives!
Interviewed by Lorenza Arnaboldi
Written by Mera Dellin