Teach Enrich Empower
Cheers to Chengdu!
I'm Bruno, age 22. I was born in London, grew up in Devon and studied Comparative Literature at QMUL, graduating with a First.
I worked various jobs after graduation: in-class tutor and after-school small-class tutor for years 7-10 in two secondary schools; private tutoring through three agencies (English to A Level and Maths to GCSE); front of house for Secret Cinema; cyclist for Deliveroo.
I took the TEFL course because I was done with London. I’ve always loved travelling and have explored Europe fairly extensively by bicycle, so jetting off far, far away to teach English was a good way to tick boxes. I like both sides of the pedagogic process; I wanted to live somewhere completely different, to be independent and jump in with a pool of strangers; and I love language learning and cultural immersion. Tick tick tick.
Right now I’m teaching at Chengdu Sports Institute, China. It’s a university which specialises in sports (fab facilities for an inner-city uni!), but also runs courses in journalism, literature, medicine, etc. My students are from the football, leisure sports, arts, medicine and foreign language departments. They are lovely, sweet, giggly, curious and full of beans. My evening classes can be tiring! But I am excited about getting to know them all better.
“The TEFL course undoubtedly gave me a stronger grounding.”
The TEFL course undoubtedly gave me a stronger grounding in the different areas of the English language. It’s no small task to render a 100-hour online course enjoyable, but it wasn’t too bad! The lessons were spread over 10 modules. They were comprehensible and digestible, and the quizzes intuitive.
So far, the funniest moments have been when presenting my family situation. Students go wild with understanding when I explain step- and half-, and find it hilarious that this brother is actually older, or this sibling is actually a brother, etc.
China is a very interesting place to be. The social paradigm here seems to be one of Old China and New China at constant loggerheads, so superficially China contradicts itself in many ways. It’s a world unto its own and is, I think, misunderstood by the narrative of the West. I’ve written more extensively about my experiences at www.brucycle.blogspot.com.
With regards to the future, there are a number of options. I can see myself going to teach somewhere else for a year or two – Vietnam and Taiwan are possibilities, but nothing is fixed yet. If I decide I don’t want to teach any more then I’ll look into doing an internship with the EU or a European NGO, applying for film school or doing an MA or MSc in something related to anthropology. We’ll see!
If you can go in with a completely open mind, do. China is different but essentially operates in the same way – people are people, some are friendly, some aren’t; roll with the punches. Plan your lessons well and thoroughly but don’t let the plan dominate your class. Be flexible. Enjoy it. If you smile, they’ll almost certainly smile with you!
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