In this week’s installment of “meet the staff” we are introducing you to Chris. Chris is popular with the students, teaching in both the General English and Cambridge courses.
Chris, tell us about yourself. Are you originally from this area?
No, I’m not. I’m originally from a great town in New Zealand called Nelson. I first visited Byron Bay in early 2009 for a yoga teacher training course, and fell in love with the place! Three years later, I made the move here and here I am, still!
How long have you been teaching at BBELS?
So far, I’ve had 3 years of great times here at BBELS.
What do you especially enjoy about teaching the students at BBELS?
I love their enthusiasm, open-mindedness, and passion to learn new things and have new experiences!
What other fields did you work in before you started teaching English at BBELS? Has it helped you as a teacher?
I’ve done all kinds of jobs over the years, from bar and restaurant work to ski guiding and photography, gardening and building to surf/snow/skate shop retail. All of them have helped me develop into who I am today. Also, teaching yoga to some very unfit and inflexible people helped me develop the necessary patience to become a better English teacher!
We know you are very engaged with the local community, and you are always keen to engage your students in very special local projects. Could you tell us about it?
One of my true passions is the natural world, and I believe a healthy environment is the single most important thing for our own health and happiness. With this in mind, I work with a local NGO called Positive Change for Marine Life, which seeks to educate people and raise awareness of the massive damage humans are causing to the ocean ecosystem. One thing we do is conduct regular beach cleans, and I’m always happy to have students from BBELS join us with these! It’s also a great opportunity for students to meet and chat to other members of the local community.
Do you have any tips for the new students who want to improve their English skills?
Yes, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!! Hahaha, I’m just joking! Well, I’m half-joking… You should definitely do any homework your teacher gives you, but more importantly, remember WHY you are learning English: to communicate with people from other countries! So, get out there and spend as much time as possible speaking English to all sorts of people. Your English will improve a lot, AND you’ll make great friends and learn things you have never thought about before!
What are some things you’d recommend students do while they are here in the Byron Bay Region?
Do all the things that really make life great! Spend time with great people, listen to great music, dance like a crazy person, try surfing, watch the sunrise from the lighthouse or top of Mt. Warning, do some yoga, think about life, go snorkelling or diving with the incredible marine life we have here, eat yummy local food and drink a couple of cold, local beers sometimes!