Paul Wray is no stranger to a classroom, sharing his approach to discipline and the importance of interacting with parents.
Teacher: Pual Wray
From: London, England
School: International Paul’s English Institute Songshan Lake
What inspired you to become a teacher?
What inspired me to become a teacher was to give something back to China. I have been coming to China for the last twenty-three years on business and finally settled down here nine years ago. It was then that I decided to help others learn the English language.
What’s your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy of education is that all children are unique and must have a stimulating educational environment where they can grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. It is my desire to create this type of atmosphere where students can meet their full potential. I provide a safe environment where students are invited to share their ideas and take risks.
What is the most special Teachers’ Day gift? Why is it so special?
My most special gift that I received—and there are quite a few—was a framed picture that a young student had drawn and colored in for me. The picture was amazing, and it now takes its place on my office wall.
If you had to describe a teacher’s job as an animal, what animal do you think it would be?
If I had to describe a teacher’s job as a specific animal, I would select a giraffe. The giraffe is a creature that has a special ability to see great distances. They are a symbol of foresight, knowing what’s ahead because of their long necks. They are gentle creatures—non-destructive and without aggression.
What qualities do you want your students to learn from you?
The kind of qualities that students look for in teachers are caring and kind, while also having a firm and mature attitude in helping nurture and educate students in their growth. As a teacher, it is important to set an example in all areas: time keeping, how to dress, how to communicate, teaching style and passion for teaching.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I approach discipline with “firm and fair.” All students are treated equally and it’s about setting an even playing field in the classroom. Set the rules with the students from the beginning and then they know the guidelines and what you expect from them. The students will respect you as a teacher and know how you run your classes.
What’s your advice on dealing with parents?
Interaction with parents is a vital part of the teaching process. Parents want to and must know how their children are performing in their education—no matter good or bad. I always take time to speak with parents even if it’s not always school related. It’s because I want parents to not only know I am their child’s teacher but a person that they can interact with and feel comfortable talking to.
Is teaching in China different from other countries?
I believe teaching in China is different from teaching in the UK as classes are Monday to Friday in the UK with no evening or weekend classes. Here in China, most students go to school over the weekends and have lots of evening classes, since parents focus more on their child’s education.