In a fairly short time, American Eric Luckin has become one of the most popular teachers in prep. We asked for a quick interview to get to know a bit more about him and look… We even got a cookie recipe (Here)!
Why did you come to Turkey?
While I was living and working in the States, I met a beautiful Turkish woman. We got married, I visited Turkey to meet her family and just loved it here. So, I wanted to come and stay.
We heard that your first university experience in Turkey was in Kayseri. What do you think about Kayseri and Melikşah University?
Melikşah University is great. Kayseri is a great city if you are looking at Erciyes Mountain. If you are not looking at the mountain, there is really nothing to do except visiting Kapadokya.
Are you happy to be here? Did you face any adaptation problems in Turkey?
No, I am very flexible and Izmir is a beautiful city. Also, we have a home here.
Could you tell us about your family?
I’m the seventh child. We are seven kids and I’m the youngest. I have five brothers and a sister. Everyone is very creative. So, everyone is either an artist, photographer or videographer. My brother and I have been in construction for many years, designing and building houses.
Do you miss something about your county?
Yes, my family. Especially my children, one son, two daughters and four grandchildren.
What are the difficulties of teaching English to young people?
They mainly have problems focusing and with their critical thinking skills. So, when you ask a question like “What do you think about this?”, many times… nothing. This makes it challenging. And here at IUE, when I say “stop talking”, everyone just goes on, no matter how many times I say it. However, at a typical bad American high school where you have to be afraid of the students, when you say “stop talking”, people actually do stop. When you first start teaching here, it makes you frustrated because it seems so disrespectful. However, on the positive side, the students are much more friendly and loving. They come to me saying “I love you, I love you” and hugging. In America, never. It just doesn’t happen.
What do you recommend to students who have problems focusing?
First thing is no phones. I think phones are the main problem, because if you do nothing more than send thirty second text messages, your attention span tends to be about 30 seconds long. However, if you do not use a phone like some of us older people, then you learn to focus longer. It also depends on the teacher. I’m very friendly and helpful but I demand respect. Interesting is how often students start like “oh my god, what a dictator”, but a week later they understand how much I care. But you have to have some rules or learning doesn’t happen.
What was your biggest dream and have you worked hard to make it real?
I have many dreams. One of my biggest dreams in America was to build my own house which I did. From the ground to the top. Also, having a family which I did. Two of my three children I delivered at home. You know, cutting the navel cord, holding them in my arms. My wife and I, together. An amazing experience it is to deliver a baby.
What do you do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
Mostly, I’m interested in travel. Last year, I went to India and Nepal, the US and Greece. I pick a new country every year, maybe next year it can be China. I will continue to travel the world. Also, health and fitness. Reading the newest information about health, science and nutrition. Doing exercise but not too much. I love cycling.
What are your future goals?
Number one is to be a hundred. I want to teach forever. Also, I want to build another house before I am physically unable to do so. Building another house is really big on my dream list, my bucket list. I have lots of new design ideas, if I had a chance to create them again myself on my own.
Have you ever thought about being an architect or civil engineer?
No, I love teaching. I already worked in the construction industry for twenty years. I have no training, but that is a part of me. It is natural for me like, some people can paint. I understand making things like houses easily.
What do you think about Turkish people?
They are wonderful in everyway except in traffic. They are like New York taxi drivers. But, I like it because I like driving like that. I can be really crazy, too. People are really sweet, caring, giving and helpful. I don’t worry about my safety here. In America you have to be careful, because of the criminals, but at least in Izmir I don’t feel fear at all.