Dog walking testimonial
Catherine Oughtibridge, walking Pope. Photograph Copyright Kaisa Vänskä, used with permission.

I live a wondrous life which is an amalgamation of teaching, painting, writing, digging, dog-walking, tree-pruning, digger-driving and entertaining children. Here you’ll find an eclectic selection of testimonials in English and Spanish.

Puri, madre de Carmen 7 años, Murcia, Spain

Me preocupaba que a Carmen no le interesaran las clases y por lo tanto no prestara atención. Sin embargo, Catherine ha sabido motivarla y ha mantenido su atención en todo momento.

Me han sorprendido los progresos en lo aprendido durante este tiempo. Carmen ha sido capaz de entender las explicaciones a través de un lenguaje sencillo utilizado para comunicarse con ella.

Los diferentes recursos usados para mantener la atención han sido, por ejemplo: dibujos, lectura de cuentos, juegos, etc.. Y por supuesto, le ha servido de refuerzo en el conocimiento del idioma. Carmen está feliz, espera que llegue la hora de que comience la clase de inglés y eso no le ha pasado con ninguna otra actividad.

Desde luego que sí. Ella es cariñosa, divertida y ha logrado con creces las perspectivas que tenía sobre las clases. Le deseo lo mejor. Ha sido un placer conocerla.

Enrique Del Cerro Calderon, English Teacher, Murcia, Spain

Ms Catherine Oughtibridge was employed as an assistant teacher of English from October 2018 until the end of May 2019. During that time she carried out her professional duties with enthusiasm and dedication. Before she came in October, we were very concerned about the possibility that she might not get along with the students owing to personality or linguistic obstacles. However, not only has she established good relationships with the students, but also with colleagues in the school, where she was a very conscientious and reliable member of staff.

The students have very much improved their oral skills, especially thanks to Catherine’s easygoing personality, which has helped most of them overcome their fear of speaking in public. Other benefits we found from her working in the school were the chance to have a native speaker to help our students prepare for their Cambridge exams, the opportunity to learn about the culture of the region where she comes from (Yorkshire) and, also the possibility to listen to a different accent other than the standard British English used in the class material.

For all these reasons, we would definitely recommend Catherine and would be very happy if we had the chance to work with her again.

Maria, aged 15, Spain

My mum was not worried about my English, but she was worried that here, in Spain, as I don’t speak English I would lose that feeling of speaking English. I went to Ireland last year and I was talking in English but I lost that.

Because I am very shy

When we go abroad, and imagine we’re in Italy, and we have to talk to someone in the hotel, I’m the kind of person who says I’m not going to talk because I’m worried that my pronunciation or what I’m saying is wrong, so my brother always speaks for me.

But my mum told me, “You have to have a conversation with someone who’s English, from England, to learn how to express yourself and to communicate, every week.”

And I was like, “No, I don’t want that!”

My mum is always telling me, “You have to speak.”

Before this, for example, at the beach, the neighbours are mainly English people or English or Scottish or Irish or American people, but people who speak English.

My mum said, “Speak to them.”

And I was like, “No way!”

Because the first time I spoke to them they were like, “What?”

And I was like: I’m speaking wrong?

But the thing is that now it’s okay. I can express myself and an English person can understand me so maybe I’m not that bad at pronunciation.

So this summer my mum is like, “You have to have an English friend at this beach.”
And I’m like, “Okay.”

But I think that this summer, it will be easier, to maybe… not have a conversation like this, but to say, “Hello, where are you from?” These simple things.

So it has helped me a lot with stress.

And my mum feels more comfortable, more relaxed

Because she knows that maybe during my normal day I don’t speak English but one hour per week I am going to have a conversation so I don’t lose the feeling of conversation in English, so she’s more calm and comfortable.

I remember the first time we met

I don’t know you, you are in my house, you’re talking to me in English, that is not my language. So I was afraid that each week we didn’t have conversation to say.

If this week we talk about this, the next week then what?

But the thing is, as the weeks have progressed we always had something to talk about, from politics to ourselves. So that was my first worry about this but it is not a worry now because the conversation came up easily.

At school we don’t have conversation

We say the sentence and then we talk in Spanish. Always in Spanish.

And I know how to express myself in Spanish, but in English for me was really difficult. When we are in class we just say a sentence, but we don’t actually talk in English we just say the sentence and that’s all.

The aim of this was to be able to converse about anything

To learn how to say some things in English, and then to learn how to have a conversation.

So learning to express myself in English was the best part

Because I know a lot, but I don’t know for example, if I am talking about politics, I don’t know some terms. In some conversations, I was trying to get a word, and then I was like, “Yeah, yeah, this word…”

And you helped me to get that word. So that gave me vocabulary, so that was good.

But also just to speak

When I am with my friends we all have the same thoughts. We’re all in the same school. We go with the same people. We have more or less the same families.

To speak to someone who doesn’t see the world as I do, is just like weird

The first time I was like, oh my god, how? But it is good to know that not everyone thinks the same as you. Or is not from your religion so that, apart from English you helped me a lot to see that you will find people who are not the same as you. People that will have different thoughts. So that helped me too.

Thank you to come to my house and to have a conversation with me, because it’s like weird, but thank you.

Bedroom wall, painted and designed by a six-year-old, with additional brushwork by his sister and guidance from me. Italy.

Liliana, Retired English Teacher, Romania

I’ve always wanted to have a helper like Catherine. Kind, well educated she is whenever ready to help, no matter how hard it is. Willing to learn new things she writes down what she needs to remember. Her skills cover many fields. She is very determined in what she does and draws to the end her job even if it’s boring. When you ask her opinion she may come up with bright ideas. We spent nice moments talking and I found in her a wise, mature listener. I, my husband and my daughter enjoyed a lot her company.

We want her back soon and for a longer period of time. Stay blessed, Catherine!

Grandpère Testimonial, France
Donkeys and Sheep, France

Grandpère, France

Catherine is wonderful.

Everyone here misses her. My 3 years old grandson is still asking me where she is! My 8 years old granddaughter wants to look like Catherine.

I did not ask my donkeys and sheep but I am sure that they have been well treated during her stay.

Thanks Catherine and have a good time.

Testimonial Certificate
Drawing by Carla, aged 5

Miguel, Catalonia, Spain

Catherine has been an excellent helper. She is a nice, healthy and adorable girl. My 3 kids had fun with her day after day!

Catherine is polite and sympathetic, and she has been very useful not only to take care of the kids but also to improve our English level!

See you soon Catherine 😉

Wall mural testimonial
Two of five acrobats painted by a 7 year-old on her bedroom wall, with a little assistance. Italy.

Tranquility in Sicily

Natasha and Mike, Sicily

Catherine was a great help on our November regeneration project, easy going, adaptable and friendly addition to our small team.

Excellent on practical tasks from digging to furniture restoring to digital mapping.

We enjoyed hosting someone who appreciated silence, joined in yoga and meditation, and devoured our library of books. We’d be happy to have you stay again, Catherine.

If you have a suggestion for future work I might undertake, please get in contact.