Hi, this is #EverydayPeople. This week, I interview Ms. Marcie Gansler. Podcast here (give it a second) and transcript below.
History of this project rrrrrrrrrright at the bottom. Enjoy this chat!
1. For the readers, who are you, what do you do, and what is your current side project?
My name is Marcie Gansler. I am the current District 93 Director for Toastmasters International. We’re based in the Republic of Korea, which is South Korea.
My work is actually as an English teacher. Besides my work, I am a Toastmaster. I’m a swing dancer… and I drink a lot of coffee?
2. If you had to relate coffee and swing dancing, why do you consume both of them? What interests you about both?
To be honest, they both provide energy. So if I don’t go swing dancing the night before, I usually need coffee the next day. But if I go swing dancing, then I don’t need coffee.
Swing dancing is really active – there’s a lot of, I guess, cardio involved. I find that it rejuvenates me. It’s more of a fuel in my life, much like public speaking and Toastmasters.
3. You mentioned you’re an English teacher for adults. Why do you specifically teach English and what do you enjoy about teaching?
I never wanted to be a teacher, but I’m going on my 11th year of official teaching. When I was a child, I wanted to be a lawyer. Teaching opportunities always popped up in my life. When I was in middle school, my pastor asked me to teach Sunday school, and you can’t say no to your pastor. It’s like saying no to God! If you’re religious, you’ll understand!
I was a tutor in my high school for my classmates, I was a tutor at my community college, I was an English tutor for international students at my university. It’s just one of those things that kept following me around.
But I never wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to be a counselor, I wanted to help people. And in my senior year at university, my advisor sat me down and said, “Marcie! What do you want to do next year, because you have to do an internship to graduate. We’ll help you arrange one in your chosen field.” What I was going to say was, “I want to be a guidance counselor” but what came out is, “I want to teach English in South Korea.”
So they hooked me up with an internship in my university. I spent 2 semesters teaching English with a professor supervising me, and then I moved to Korea. It was supposed to be for 2-3 years. I taught preschool, elementary, and middle school for 2 years, and then I wanted a new challenge and I moved to high school. I taught high school for 7.5 years and I just finished my stint with high school this year and moved to business English, working with adults. [That’s] a new challenge, something interesting to me, so I’ve taught the whole spectrum.
I’ve never taken an education class and I’m not a trained teacher, but I love teaching because it’s so much fun. It’s like when you give a speech in front of a good audience – they give you energy. And you take that energy and you throw it back at them. That’s what teaching does to me.
[Marcie mentions her students and their feedback. Listen to the Podcast above.]
4. In your teaching career, what are the three key pieces of advice you’ve come across ?
Because I teach English in a country where English is not the native language, the biggest thing is to just do it. That’s a Nike thing, but just do it. A lot of my students get hung up on pronunciation, they get really shy. They don’t want to look foolish in front of their classmates and they get nervous. But you just do it.
And maybe you make a mistake, but then you learn from it and come back and you do it better.
Someone recently talked about failing better. And that’s exactly what you do – you fail once, you learn from the mistake, you come back and you fail better in the future.
That’s the only one [piece of advice I have]. It applies to so many things.
5. Great. Finally, what can you leave the audience with? What should they explore next?
Toastmasters has been one of the greatest things that has ever happened in my life. I joined Toastmasters 6 years ago, in January 2012, because I had a fear of public speaking. Even though I was a teacher and spent everyday of my life in front of an audience, it was terrifying.
At the start of the new semester, I would not sleep the night before. I would cry in between my classes, because I put so much pressure on myself. I felt that everyone was judging me and I was horrible. But you wouldn’t know that when you saw me go in front of my class.
So when I joined Toastmasters, it helped me so much. It gave me so many opportunities to speak in front of an audience, to get feedback, to grow in confidence. Now I’m the district director.
You know, I shouldn’t even be here. I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere in rural Washington state and the fact that I’m sitting here in India, as a guest at a district conference is… I’ve made friends all around the world. The only thing I can tell people is that when opportunity comes, you take that opportunity.
I never would have joined leadership if someone hadn’t given me an opportunity. In May 2012, and my VP-M said, “Marcie, I’m going to run for president.” I said, “that’s great!” and he’s like, “I want you to be my VP-E,” and I was like, “No. That sounds awful. Why would I want to do that? I don’t want to stand in front of people.”
He said, “No no no, you’ll be great,” so he gave me that hand. When the opportunity comes, you take it, because you don’t know if it will ever come again. And that’s how I became VPE, and then I became president. I became conference chair in 2013, then Area Director, then Division Director, then Program Quality Director and now District Director. Those opportunities come [in succession] so when somebody gives you a chance, take it, and watch where the ride takes you.
Henlo fren. If you made it all the way here, THANK YOU for reading! Did you enjoy it?
#EverydayPeople is season 2 (and up) of Talkback Tuesday, a project I started in 2016 because I wanted something easy to do. Who knew it would become more complex?
This is a weekly interview with everyday people. I think it is inspirational to look into the life of another person and realize it is just as complex and large and confusing as your own. Hopefully you do too!
Next, check out the previous interview, which was actually the last interview from season 1, more than a month ago! I interviewed Erika Van ‘t Veld, who is a world traveler and a free spirit. Click on the image below.