Now lots of children study English at school as a second language and many adults attend courses either at work or in the evenings to improve their language skills. Cities all around the world have schools where specially trained teachers help with grammar and conversation. This might seem like a recent trend or a modern necessity but English schools have existed for a long time. Several famous authors started their careers as English teachers too. Charlotte Brontë, author of Jane Eyre, spent time in Belgium teaching English in the mid-1800s and JK Rowling worked as an English teacher in Portugal before writing the Harry Potter series.

Irish writer James Joyce spent much of his life abroad; in Italy, Croatia and Austria. To earn money while he was writing he took a job in Pola, where he taught English to Austro-Hungarian naval officers. When the school closed because of First World War he moved to Trieste where he worked in the Berlitz School. Although he didn’t like the job very much he was a very popular teacher and said that some of the people he met during his time teaching English inspired characters in Ulysses. Leopold Bloom was based on his student, the Italian writer, Italo Svevo.

Illustration by ​Fabio Visintin, taken from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Reading and Training, Life Skills (B1.2)