Manager for Advanced
TOEFL iBT Scores
WITH THOSE SKILLS, I CREATED A SPECIAL PROCESS OF GUIDING MY STUDENTS.
The process is called The Measurable Progress Framework.
It allows you to focus on 3 areas:
But I didn’t always have these skills or this knowledge…
MY START AS A FOREIGNER
MY START AS A FOREIGNER
I grew up in America. After I got my Bachelor of Arts and teaching certification for English as a Second Language in 2008, I left California and I got my first real job in Izmir, Turkey.
I got off the plane knowing just 3 words (apple elma, fork çatal and jump atlamak). I experienced a brutal learning curve the first year, juggling constant preparation for full-time English grammar classes, and navigating a new city, culture and language.
While spending time socially with my colleagues after work, I quickly learned what kind of foreigner I did not want to be: constantly drinking or smoking, dependent on others, helpless and confused, and ultimately trapped by not knowing the language.
For the first time in my life, I wanted to belong and fit in and be part of a local community. I studied the native-speaker women around me. I changed my hair, my clothes, my body language.
My work schedule prevented me from attending Turkish classes regularly, so I developed my own self-study routines. I carried my dictionary with me everywhere. I talked with anyone who was willing to suffer my Turkish. When I didn’t have the words, I drew pictures. I asked a ton of questions, even though I rarely understood the answers.
It felt magical that I was able to communicate. It was a victory to mail a letter, to buy something from an open-air market where no prices were written down, or to make small talk with people I saw regularly.
BUT… BECAUSE I WAS SELF-TAUGHT, I ALSO MEMORIZED A LOT OF MISTAKES.
I’ll never forget when I discovered my first “fossilized mistake.” A very sweet secretary at the school of my first real job pulled me to the side of the office one day. She said, “Jaime, I wanted to tell you that when you conjugate verbs to the future tense, you’re doing something wrong.”
I was shocked. Literally shocked. She explained it and she wrote it down and she pronounced it for me. As soon as I fully understood the right and wrong way, I started crying. I was grateful to her, but I was also embarrassed by how many times I repeated the error, upset that no one had told me before… and confused how people could understand me even with the mistake.
Fortunately, sleep and a fresh cup of coffee are my best friends, I didn’t let that setback stop me for long. By the end of the my first year, some of my colleagues who had already been living there for 3 or 4 years were asking for my help doing things in Turkish.
MY FIRST STUDENT FOR TOEFL iBT
After 12 months of teaching grammar classes non-stop, I finally had permission to work with 1 student for TOEFL iBT… under observation. They said, “You’re young, Jaime. You have no experience with TOEFL. She needs 22 on Speaking. She already failed 3 times so if you can’t help her raise her score to 22, don’t worry because she probably doesn’t have what it takes.”
After she finished the activities that I invented just for her, she raised her Speaking score from 21 to 23. My boss raised his eyebrows in surprise and said, “Wow! We didn’t expect that from her!
That success was the first time that I saw how TOEFL changes not only a person’s life and opportunities, but the way they feel about themselves— and also the way that other people see them.
To me, TOEFL classes were the perfect combination of fun and challenging. Intuitively, I understood exactly what to do in lessons and exactly how to guide a student.
Because of my struggle (and gradual accomplishments) learning to speak Turkish, I knew what kind of activities and what kind of repetition students needed to rewire their skills and develop genuine confidence.
In my imagination, I could see all these ways to build ladders and staircases for students so they could reach higher levels of skill and ability with English so they could get more points.
In TOEFL lessons, and with homework assignments, students and I built those ladders.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH PEOPLE WHO NEED 26 ON TOEFL iBT
In 2010, I started my first website and YouTube channel to advertise to TOEFL students.
This was long before the days of Zoom. I met with students in Skype.
By 2011, I had made the choice to work full-time with TOEFL iBT students. I stopped leading general conversation and business English classes. Even though I was still living in Turkey, most of my students were in America because so many licensing organizations require a score of 26 on TOEFL iBT Speaking.
3 years later, I got my certification for Delta, Module 1. In my industry, this is one of the most intense and difficult tests that an ESL tutor can take. One of the skills I had to develop in order to pass that test was how to write in symbols (like ð ʃ ʒ ʊ) for the International Phonemic Alphabet. I started introducing my students in TOEFL classes to those symbols… and they made faster progress than I had ever seen before.
By forcing myself to take and pass that test for Delta, I learned what people go through when they feel frustrated by requirements to take TOEFL iBT… and I also developed certain note-taking tricks that are super helpful with my current students.
I have spent literally 10,000 hours in Zoom giving private lessons for TOEFL iBT, group lessons for TOEFL iBT and presentations. Not to mention all the time recording my 11 e-courses or the “fun” videos you see on social media.
From 2014 to 2020, I owned and operated English Success Academy, an online school that provided services for TOEFL iBT. Unfortunately, due to the economic difficulties that were caused by the COVID pandemic, I made the tough choice to close in October, 2020.
Even in the middle of that chaos and uncertainty, I knew that I would continue in my field… so I went solo and opened Jaime Miller Advising. I understand perfectly why foreign-trained professionals want to continue their careers in physical therapy, pharmacy, nursing or law. The experience that we have gathered year after year is incredibly valuable. I didn’t want to abandon mine or start over in a new industry, so I can easily understand why you want the same for yourself now.
HOW TO STAND BACK UP
I am pretty open about my “failures” — international divorce, struggles with perfectionism and workaholism, buying a house with a broken foundation, closing English Success Academy, and my own learning curve as a tutor for TOEFL iBT.
I don’t hide these things because each one is proof that I understand how to navigate overwhelming and seemingly hopeless situations. Each one is proof that I figured out how to stand back up, that I figured out where to find the energy to try again and take another chance.
That matters for you because in the end, the greatest predictor of your success not only with TOEFL iBT, but after it’s all done, when you’re using English daily to work in the career you love, is your willingness to do the same
STUDY WITH ME
so that you FINISH with TOEFL iBT