A great actor of all nations - our teacher Chris
Have you ever dreamt of playing in the theatre? Have you ever dreamt of being an actor? You should not just dream, but ask our teacher Christopher how to make your dream come true, as he has been teaching not only English, but also drama and has acted in different films.
From an assistant manager to a teacher of drama
– Chris, would you please let us know more about your working experience? I heard that you even had your own shop, is that true?
– Oh, my first working experience was a job of an assistant manager at a video library, then as a manager in a computer software shop. Then, you are right, I did open up a shop where toys and computer games were sold. But at that time there was a recession, so the business closed and I went back to college, where I resumed my studies of Drama and Theatre. It was a fascinating subject for me, so I decided to go to University and gain a Degree in "Theatre Studies and Creative Writing." I followed that with a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) in English and Drama.
– Wow! Sounds great! So, after you received the Degree of theatre studies, you could have taught drama, right?
– Yes, I worked for one secondary school for some time teaching drama, and in a while was transferred to another school where I set up the drama department, including helping design the new theatre.
– Oh, you must have been a star there, if they did not know anything about drama before you.
– I cannot say that I was a star, but anyway I was promoted to the official head of the drama department and I was proud that our exam results for the students made it of the top 5 in the country.
– Whom did you mainly teach? How old were your examinees?
– They were 12 year-olds to 18 year-olds.
– People say that the more you play, the more you develop your confidence, do you think it's true?
– Certainly, and not only confidence: drama teaches cooperation, team work, communication skills and creativity also. I liked everything at the school, except the bureaucratic system of work, that's why, I had to leave the school. After that – and actually while I was doing my degree – I tutored English, had private students and lived a usual life, except for doing some roles in independent and foreign films.
What is it like to be a film star?
Some people dream to become famous and do their best to gain roles in films, but Chris got some roles pretty easily.
– Chris, what was your first role?
– I was an "extra" in an Egyptian film, about Prince Farouk: I don't remember the exact name, sorry.
– What about the role which you will never forget?
– I was cast in the film "Waiting for the Dawn." It is kind of a fantasy film about a man who went into the club and every time he stepped out of it he was in a different place and different time. My role was to play the owner of the club, the mysterious "Darwin". It was really amazing.
– Cool! We have a teacher who is a real star, it's fantastic! Do you still take part in films?
– Well, not recently: With all the wonderful students I get from EnglishDom, I don't have the time to go to audions even. Someday, I guess, I will take part again.
– I know that you are also good at designing, is that right?
– Yes, When I taught at the second school, I renovated the whole design the architect had made for the theatre and studio. If to talk about the things I do now, I am creating my own garden furniture, recently I renovated the bathroom and put the tiles up in the kitchen, so it looks nice now.
As you can see, we have a teacher who is not only an actor and a star, but also who is a great designer and plumber.
Once bitten, twice shy
We have talked a lot about Chris' talents, now let's talk about his interests.
– Chris, what do you usually do when you have free time?
– I prefer to write novels or interesting stories.
– What do you mostly write about?
– It's mostly about fantasy, for example, one of my novels is called "Once bitten" which is about a vampire vigilante.
– Why did you call it this way?
– There is a proverb in English "Once bitten, twice shy", which means that when you do something and it turns out badly, you are careful the next time (like you lend money to a friend who doesn't pay you back, so the next time he asks you consider lending him the money more carefully). So it links into the story – the character is careful about the people he trusts, as he has been betrayed by supposed "professionals", and also the vampire link "bite".
I also write short stories, the genre is science fiction; I like this kind of genre and adore reading it too.
– There are so many things that you do, when do you usually go to bed?
– I have free time mostly at night, that's why I create my stories up till 7 or 8 am in the morning, then sleep about 5 or 6 hours and start teaching.
– Oh, my goodness! How can you survive such schedule of life? You should go to bed earlier! I know that except for writing, you are a great cook also. Would you please share one of your recipes?
– I almost never cook for myself. I prefer cooking for others, so when I have guests, they never go home hungry. Here is one of my favourite dishes:
Pasta with tuna
First you boil pasta shells, while boiling them, drain the tuna from the can, put it into the bowl, finely chop string onions and drop them in with the tuna. To a few table spoons of mayonaise add a pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, tea spoon of mustard and blend it. Then pour it onto the Tuna, mix them together and then pour this mix over the cooled pasta and fold it. When the dish is ready, you need to put it into the fridge and eat it cold.
Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
The Princess Bride
Tips for the new teachers and for the students
– Chris, would you please share some pieces of advice how to hold successful classes?
– I think the key to having successful classes is to enjoy the time with the student, and to help them enjoy learning. This doesn't have to be a chore; it should be fun, friendly and co-operative. We work together to achieve the learning. In fact, we (the teachers) are not instructors but guides, helping the students find their understanding and confidence.
– What about the students? What should they do to progress quickly?
– For their part, the students must be committed. This means doing the homework – and not immediately before the next class (as so many seem to do!) but to manage their time. For example, if you have lessons on Monday and Friday, do the homework on Wednesday – then you are immersed in English three times during the week – that helps your brain become more accustomed to the language.
Unfortunately, we do not have the video of Chris, but anyway if you would like to have classes with this great teacher, you are always welcome to do that, I must admit, that you will never regret that opportunity, as he is one of the sweetest and the most polite people in the world, besides is an experienced teacher in general English, IELTS, CAE and business English. We really cherish him as one of the brightest teachers of our school and were very pleased to talk to him today.
Thank you, dear readers, for your attention too! See you next time! Have a great summer and enjoy yourselves!
Feel English and feel free