In Your Shoes - Sandra Crowther

Sandra Crowther from Discovery Languages

Sandra is the founder of Discovery Languages Ltd, a small, friendly language school, based in Dundee. When living in Germany, she taught English as a foreign language in a local school and in large companies such as Sanofi-Aventis and Thyssen Krupp. When the family moved back to Scotland, she founded Discovery Languages in 2020.  The school offers over 10 languages and gives lessons for both individuals and groups in a variety of styles.  Lessons can be for formal exam preparation like National 5 or IELTS, or informal conversation classes, book clubs and language lunches. Sandra is a life-long learner and passionately believes that learning should never stop. She continues to improve her German language skills.

Monday: Teaching and interviewing

As well as the business owner I try and keep my hand in with teaching and I kicked off the week with an English language lesson. People come to us for English for all kinds of reasons. Today’s student required the IETLTS certification for their career.  The school take learners of all abilities. It’s very rewarding working with them and watching them progress.  I love meeting such interesting people.

After lunch, I interviewed a potential new tutor. Discovery Languages has many tutors, all of them are passionate about their language(s).  An important part of my job is matching a student with a tutor, so the language learning process will go as smoothly as possible.

Tuesday: New student and my language lesson

The first job of the day was to introduce a new student to their tutor.  For this student we were able to do it face to face.  Most of our classes are online, but some take place in relaxed surroundings such as coffee shops and our language lunches can take place in work premises.

Tuesday evening, it is time to walk the walk as I am a language learner too and it’s my weekly German lesson. I learnt French at school as my first foreign language and Spanish in evening classes when I was younger but having spent time in Germany, I have formed more personal ties.  I started learning German when we moved out and I have maintained my German skills since returning to Dundee.  It is important to me to be able to talk to my friends in Germany. For me there aren’t any short cuts to learning, it means practising the four skills (reading, listening, speaking and writing), studying grammar and making German part of my daily life.

Wednesday: Advertising and online teaching

Attracting new business is important for any small company and we advertise in a variety of ways. A lot of our business comes from word of mouth from happy learners but we’re always looking for different ways to find new students.  This morning I’m out leafletting, to increase our reach in the local area. Having our Discovery Languages website up to date also helps people find us. 


In the afternoon, I taught English online. The move to online lessons in March 2020 was a steep learning curve but it has opened up a world of possibilities. Many students work long hours or have small children and online learning is incredibly convenient for them. DLL students are in Dundee and Tayside, the rest of the UK and beyond.

Thursday: Speaking to clients and admin

I spoke to a potential client on the phone today about setting up some language lunches. The client is taking a group of staff overseas for a week-long conference and they want to be able to converse in the local language. The 45-minute language lunches are perfect for this. The tutor either teaches online, or goes into the offices.

The rest of the day was for admin. I updated the student registers and as it’s the end of the month, I paid my tutors and did my payroll. I spend a lot of time using spreadsheets, which wasn’t something I’d used much before I started the business.

Friday: Teaching and then time to myself

After teaching in the morning, I have some time to myself in the afternoon. Time away from work is important, I became an outdoor swimmer during lockdown and I swim regularly in the sea and an indoor pool. Swimming in cold water, especially during the winter, clears my head and really helps me in lots of ways. I am more inspired after a cold swim and often I find it good for problem solving.  In Dundee, we are very lucky to have this on our doorstep. See you on the beach!