English speaking teacher Erica Thomas about her daily surprises

Last August I found myself in Martin, Slovakia for the second time in my life. The first time I came to Martin (in summer 2013), I fell in love. No, not the marrying kind of love but the soulful kind of love.

I first heard the mission and vision of the Lutheran Academy during their 10th anniversary celebration that summer (July 2013). I learned where they started and what they had achieved in those 10 years. I also heard what their plans were for the next 10 years and I knew right then that this was something I wanted to be a part of. And so, just over 13 months later, I found myself back in Martin, ready to be a helping hand, to share God’s love, to teach and to learn.

It’s been just over 6 months since I arrived and I am having an absolute blast here. It’s been a wild ride of learning a new culture, adapting to the language, getting know the students and fellow staff, and finding my way around Martin and the beautiful countryside surrounding the city.

I am surprised constantly by the students’ ability to understand my light speed English (I do talk really fast and apparently I “eat my vowels” according to some Slovaks) and their ability to learn other subjects (like math, physics, geography) in their second language. I am also surprised daily by the availability of fresh rolls. I wake up 15 minutes earlier that I have to just so I can walk around the corner for fresh rolls. I do it because part of me can’t believe I can get fresh rolls every day so easily. I also do it because they are delicious! It is amazing!

I have learned many things since moving to Martin, including some Slovak. My vocabulary is slowly building. I’ve also learned to embrace the simple differences between the cultures. It is my continuing dream to share my faith and God’s love with everyone I meet and it is my new goal to stay for an additional year as a teacher. It would be a dream come true to see the school continue to transform into its full potential as it adds another grade and hopefully move into new buildings that would expand the Center for Christian education campus and allow it to be in one location (preschool, kindergarten, elementary, jr. high and high school). I feel very blessed to be here in Martin, working with the students and sharing God’s love and I am looking forward to more adventures ahead!

Erica Thomas,
English speaking teacher at Lutheran Academy


Lutheran Academy’s unique approach to education includes the use of highly qualified teachers from the United States and Great Britain to provide bilingual instruction. Native-English speakers with teaching experience in Christian schools offer an added dimension to our students’ learning experience as well as to the Academy staff, and we actively seek such professionals to serve in this capacity.

While many educators express an interest in teaching for a year or more in our programs, relatively few have the financial means to do so (and Slovakia’s government does not provide funding for such teachers). For this reason, we have established the English-Speaking Teachers Fund to assure that the continued use of qualified native-English speakers in our classrooms.

Please consider supporting this worthwhile endeavor; gifts of all amounts are appreciated. For more information look at our page SUPPORT US.

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3 Responses to English speaking teacher Erica Thomas about her daily surprises

  1. Susan Thompson says:

    I came to Martin in 2009 as a very short term volunteer with a group from my congregation, Zion Lutheran Church of Amor, Battle Lake, Minnesota. Reading Erica’s blog makes me very happy for her – that she is having this wonderful experience in a place I also “fell in love with” during our short stay. God’s continued blessings! Susan Thompson

  2. Charlotte Mosqueira says:

    I know how blessed your students are to have you as their teacher. I have witnessed your connection with students and know the blessing goes both ways. I have so many wonderful memories of my six summers in Martin. May you continue to follow your dream and God’s will for your life.

  3. Priska says:

    Wow, you are just bringing a huge smile to my face as I read your reasons for being on a mission trip to teach in Martin. Little did I know when we invited you to join us to teach english for two weeks would you be back to share your love of God and compassion for for the Slovak people. May your light so shine to those students who will deepen their relationship to God because of your “being there” in their life. A life with God’s direction and discipline will make you joyful and enthusiastic for others. Enjoy this time. Miss you but love seeing pictures of you especially in the beautiful countryside. Mama

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