Staff Spotlight: Ian John Butcher

Workshop Facilitator


Ian joined the ACLE team two summers ago, after finishing his postgraduate in English for TEFL. He obtained his CELTA at IH Barcelona and continued to work teaching English in the city, prior to moving to Rome, where his work is now based.

What is your favorite travel memory?

One of my many favorite travel memories has to be waking up in the small mountain village, Muro Lucano. The sun had started to fill the room, the sweet scent from the bakery across the road, the dark tones of burnt coffee wafting over from the neighbors, combined with the abundance of aromas the poured out of the fresh flowers that enclosed the balconies had created the most delicious of morning cocktails.

I got out of bed, walked over to the window and pushed the blinds wide open. I remember then thinking, this is it, this is my life, how could I not love my job when I begin each day like this?

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have become more independent and increasingly more passionate. I've been given all the support I could ask for, providing me with a solid foundation to build a career on.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I've heard so many beautiful, inspiring, and hilarious stories that make it extremely difficult to pluck just one from the treasure chest of returners.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

One program that really caught my fancy is Discover Chicago. I'm a big believer of acquisition through immersion. Supporting students through exploration sounds like an incredible experience.

Chicago is also a big one on my bucket list as it's where the film Blues Brothers was filmed and set. The film captivated me from the age of 4 and I have watched it hundreds of times since. I'd love to bridge the learning experience with the passion that can be drawn out of such a location and experience.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

What makes the company unique is the rare position we naturally find ourselves. The stereotypical teacher deals with unenthusiastic learners and in turn, becomes an un-enthused teacher; cause or effect?

We see ourselves as facilitators which opens up a much broader range of learning opportunities. The approach applied seems very atypical to the Italian scholastic system. In my experience, learning through emotional and kinesthetic means seems unfamiliar to most Italian students. For this, they seem to engage with the learning experience on a much deeper level. It clearly resonates with the students.

Their reaction to the learning experience drives us to do better, drives us to do more. A unique dynamic generated by a unique company.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Passion. Without passion what's left is not worth having. It is the biggest driving factor in success. If you are passionate about making money, you make money. If you are passionate about being the best educator you can be, you will educate.

The fact that our company is a non-for-profit company means that the core focus and drive of our company is to improve the futures of Italy's children. The way I see it, there is no greater collective passion than that which we have for tomorrow's future. The future of our children will come before money every time.