CGA Teachers: Meet Elise Marlow!

Elise Marlow, the Greenwich English Language and Literature teacher from England, shares her interests and long teaching experience with the CGA News Paper.

Interviewer (I): “Tell us about yourself!
Elise Marlow (E): I currently live in the Pyrenees mountains in France. From the time I wake up to the
moment I fall into bed my time is fully occupied looking after nine rescued cats, gardening and
renovating – when I’m not teaching. My husband and I love hiking and camping and we chose this area
because it has such potential to do both, but since arriving here two years ago we’ve not really had the
time to do either.

(I): Have you noticed a wide contrast between what a typical teaching day looks like for you now online
vs physical?
(E): For just over thirty years I’ve had a teaching day in a school building somewhere in the world –
defined hours in class, in meetings, preparing lessons and marking – so shifting to working from home
and having a more flexible schedule has been both liberating and a challenge. The transition from work
time to personal time is less distinct and it can be easy for five minutes to stretch into an hour researching
a topic for a lesson or planting out seedlings; I have to watch the clock for myself now there are no school
bells marking the passage of time for me. (Students are quite good time monitors too!) Essentially it’s the
same routine though – prepare lessons, teach, mark work and attend meetings – just entirely hosted

(I): What advice would you give to students about what to study at university?
(E): My advice to students for choosing a degree would be to study something that they genuinely enjoy
and are passionate about; very few degrees are vocational, but the skills developed can be applied in a
variety of employment contexts.

(I): What motivated your decision to become a teacher at CGA?
(E): I enjoy teaching and want to be able to continue to do so. The nearest English-medium school is two
hours away in Toulouse, an impractical travel time each day. CGA offered the opportunity to engage with
students from all over the world teaching subjects I enjoy.
(I): What is your favorite part of the curriculums you teach and why?
(E): All of it. No matter how many times I’ve taught ‘Macbeth’ or discussed how language is a tool used
to exercise power or promote subversion, the activities and interaction with students teach me something
new. Students bring their own experiences and insights and challenge me to consider different

(I): What is your favorite part of the job?
(E): Every day and every lesson is different.

(I): How essential do you see taking English literature and Language for A levels?
(E): English is a field in which everyone can make progress and achieve. Learning to write analytically,
discursively and creatively is an essential skill. Reading literature offers an insight into other lives and
ways of thinking or perceiving the world; it may seem as if that world is getting smaller through
globalization and access to shared information on the World Wide Web, but this makes having an open
mind and a receptivity to other perspectives even more essential – appreciating the diversity of attitudes
and ideas is stimulating and enriching.

(I): How would you describe your transition experience into an online school and the dependency on
technology it creates?
(E): Technology has the potential to transform our lives and in many ways the pandemic has accelerated
our awareness of this. Experience has taught me that with patience and the help of the excellent CGA tech
team I can function on a digital platform. For me, it’s the physical inactivity of online teaching that
concerns me the most. In a classroom I would stand, pace, circulate among the students looking at their
work and joining group discussions; now I sit, click and type. I’m watching the developments in cardio
workout machines that transform muscle power to electricity with interest.

(I): Crimson Global Academy has a culturally diverse student population with varied academic
backgrounds. What are some qualities you think prepares you to teach in this kind of environment?
(E): I’ve lived in six countries and spent thirteen years working in international schools; I hope I have
learned to be open-minded and not to make assumptions or judgements about the ways in which others
view the world. Whilst individuals share many similarities in terms of their emotional responses, hopes,
aspirations and fears, the diversities of culture, language and background shape our attitudes and
uniqueness. The mix of students in my classroom creates insights and offers new perspectives on the
topics and texts I teach – I hope that I listen more now than I did as a younger teacher, guiding and
suggesting rather than telling.