An Interview with Luke Bosworth at English First – Chongqing, China
GS: So, can you tell us a bit about how you first got into English teaching?
LB: Teaching English in Asia had always been on my list of things I wanted to do. I have had many friends, colleagues, and university mates who have tried their hand at teaching English at some points in their careers. All have had overwhelmingly positive experiences. Many saying it was the most fun they ever had. Also I have seen a number of TV series about teaching English in Asia and read many books and memoirs on the subject so I was pretty sure it was something I wanted to do.
GS: Could you give some details about your dealings with Gold Star TEFL Recruitment?
LB: Gold Star conducted themselves with professionalism and consideration at all times. They made the process of applying to various schools across China seamless. Even when positions became available they didn’t pressure me in any way to take them. They wanted to make sure that I made the right decision that best suited me. My particular agent, Mark kept me in the loop at all times as to the progress of my applications. I found him to be genial and supportive. Mark also made an effort to keep tabs on me once I had arrived in China to find out how I was adjusting etc. It’s a nice personal touch.
GS: What advice do you have for people about the recruitment and interview process when looking for jobs teaching in China?
LB: Luckily Mark connected with me almost the instant I started sending out my CV’s. He walked me through the whole process and offered advice and support whenever necessary. Obviously my CV did end up in the hands of other agents due to the nature of forums and the internet. However for the most part I found the others to be fairly mercenary and only concerned with self interest. Also Mark’s English was near perfect so nothing was lost in translation. My questions and concerns were always answered, timeously, accurately and sincerely. He told me frankly what to expect across the board and didn’t try and oversell or sugarcoat anything.
GS: You are teaching at EF Chongqing at the moment, can you tell us about your impressions of the city? What do you like most about living there?
LB: For me personally I love the city. It is beautiful at night. It’s a megacity to rival any elsewhere in the world. The people are very obliging and courteous without being intrusive. There is an incredible Expat scene with something going on almost every night.
GS: What do you like most about teaching English?
LB: The aspect I find most rewarding about teaching English is the cultural exchange of ideas for higher level learners. I love English and seeing students being so inquisitive and enthusiastic about learning what is in my opinion a beautiful, rich and subtle language really gives me genuine pleasure. Some of my adult students have even gone so far as to say that speaking English is a way for them to unwind at the end of the stressful week.
GS: Can you tell us about your favourite class at the moment?
LB: I have a class of young learners, (Small Stars) who are really inquisitive and energetic. It’s quite incredible how they can absorb words so quickly and often catch me by surprise. Also they don’t seem to struggle with the usual kinds of pronunciation issues that students a few years older seem to. They are immensely good at mimicking the sounds and intonation which obviously makes for a very rewarding experience.
GS: Talk us through a typical day teaching English in China.
LB: We have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off, so our working week starts on Thursday. The schedule will vary from week to week but typically there will be about 4 to 6 hours of teaching on your schedule for Thursday and Friday combined. The weekends are quite busy with anything from 5 to 7 hours of teaching on Saturday and Sunday. Monday’s are usually quite light with 1 to 2 hours. The rest of the time will be spent with Admin, Lesson Planning and Training Workshops.
GS: What are the teaching resources like there?
LB: The teaching resources are pretty comprehensive across all the age groups. There are tons of ready made PPT’s, and lesson plans that can be used as is or adapted or supplemented to suit specific needs. The database of resources is often updated and adapted as customer and teacher needs change and evolve. However having said that, as teachers we are encouraged to bring our own ideas and experiences to the classroom instead of relying solely on the pre-made resources. That is very much at the heart of EF’s philosophy in my opinion.
GS: How many teachers are there in your school?
LB: We currently have 3 foreign teachers and our DOS who is obviously foreign. The countries represented are the Philippines, South Africa and the UK. We have two local Chinese teachers. So taken all together the teaching staff are 6 in total.
GS: China is full of surprises and unexpected adventures, tell us about one you have had recently.
LB: A whole contingent of western EF teachers took a brief trip to Chengdu. We stayed in a fantastic hostel for 50RMB a night. While there a couple of us took in a Sichuan Opera, which is known throughout the world. Famous for the lightning quick face changing feat. It was a highly entertaining modern spin on the classical art form, much more akin to the Chinese Circus with acrobatics, puppets, lasers and magic. A welcome and unexpected surprise on what I imagined might be very interesting cultural experience but a little obscure for my western tastes.