Well, I almost don't know where to start!
There are so many things about Zhuhai and TPR that are worthy of print here. But seeing as how space and time are limited I will try to give it to you in a nutshell. I've been in Zhuhai for almost 4 years and I'm looking forward to many more. When I fist arrived here I honestly didn¡¯t know what to think. I had heard so many conflicting stories about China, the Chinese people and teaching English in China. So when I got here I was really pleasantly surprised.
I had spent 10 years teaching in Japan (married to a Japanese and we have a 12 year old son) before coming to China. Japan is vastly different but at the same time you tend to find subtle similarities as you go. One of the nicer similarities is one of those out of the blue moments when a complete stranger walks up to you and asks, "Where are you from?" And then it's sort of off to the races with a possible new friend. Now don't get me wrong. There are also those who are only interested in you to try and sell you something (but one can find that most anywhere in the world), but I find that pretty rare.
Over the years I have made many good and close friends here in Zhuhai, both at TPR as well as socially. You will also not be lacking in activities here, as the weather is conducive to most sports, cultural and social pursuits. And Macau and Hong Kong are just a stone¡¯s throw away. And if you really must have your Star Bucks, there are two within a five minute bus ride from the main office! For those of you who haven¡¯t traveled very much or have never been far away from home before, I think you really have nothing to fear here as Zhuhai is a very modern and very COOOOOL city! While it still keeps that original, traditional fishing culture that was once Zhuhai. Now, I'm a big seafood fan and living here; well that's just icing on the cake, isn¡¯t it!
For me, coming here and working for TPR was very easy after living in Asia for so many years. It was a bit like putting on an old jumper-Comfortable and Inviting. So, what I have to say to you who are looking for new experiences, new friends in a beautiful tropical environment and don't mind a bit of a culture shock then WELCOME to TPR!
Now TPR for me, personally, has been like a family to me since I've been here. From the very first day I arrived I was made to feel incredibly welcome. In my opinion, TPR is one of the best (if not the best) English schools to work for in China. Not only is it a first rate company, but they really take care of their employees here. The staff is always friendly and very helpful. And there is always something happening at TPR. Oxford Street, next to the main office, is one of those pleasant surprises you will find at TPR. It is a hub for many of the cultural activities sponsored by TPR as well as the quaint little shops and caf¨¦s you will find along the street. During the school year there are music festivals, cooking competitions, art exhibitions and various sporting activities. All sponsored by TPR.
Teaching at TPR has been a very rewarding experience for me. I taught kindergarten in Japan in a Waldorf school. So I thought (being a Waldorfer myself) coming to teach at a conventional English school like TPR would go against everything I believed in about teaching young children. HOW WRONG I WAS! If you are a first time teacher or one with years of experience you will find the pedagogy and teaching philosophy of TPR quite easy to grasp and work with. The classes are not huge by any stretch and there is always an assistant at hand to help.
So, If you are thinking of teaching English in China, enrolling your child for an English class or taking in an international music festival, I think you have come to the right place. WELCOME to TPR!
- Michael Boatwright