As an educational foundation working with primarily underprivileged students in local Hong Kong schools, Chatteris continues to impact students and their families every day. However, the impact on participants of our Chatteris International Graduate Programme (CIGP) both inside and out of the classroom cannot be understated.
We sat down with Clayton Inglis, a returning Chatteris Tutor who first joined us in 2016, to discuss his journey over the years – from law degree to teaching in a local Hong Kong school.
Your journey with Chatteris is quite remarkable – you recently joined the CIGP for the second time after having been part of our team in 2016. What brought you to Chatteris and Hong Kong for the first time?
“Like a lot of people, I had finished university and was not entirely certain what career to choose or life plans to follow in general. Consequently, I was not planning on settling for a career directly after my degree in Law and Journalism. I wanted the chance to travel, explore, and try something new. This is where Chatteris and the CIGP came into play because it provides a unique platform to explore teaching English in Hong Kong – a place I admittedly knew very little about in the beginning but I was keen on learning more about. Thus, I decided to join for a year.”
This reflects the story of many Chatteris Tutors. But, your story is different. After leaving Hong Kong, you then returned to Chatteris two years later. What brought you back?
“There were many objectives to join the CIGP again. For example, the friends I made along the way throughout my time with Chatteris were and are one of the main reasons I love living and working here in Hong Kong. However, besides that, particularly the support which Chatteris provides beyond just the classroom convinced me to come back. The assistance during the visa application process, for instance, was very helpful. While Chatteris was arranging all the official procedures, the only thing I had to do was arrange the required documents. That was fantastic! Additionally, Chatteris also provided help when I started in Hong Kong. Their guidance when looking for suitable housing, the mentoring scheme, as well as the possibility to take an interest-free loan at the beginning of the programme are exceptional and allowed me to smoothly transition to the new environment.”
As a lawyer and journalist by degree, Chatteris’ opportunity to teach in local schools did not really match your qualifications. How has working with Chatteris impacted your career journey so far?
“Working with the organisation has allowed me to test the waters of the education industry. In fact, I never thought I would want to be a part of it one day but this experience changed my mind. The CIGP has equipped me with the relevant experience in teaching and emboldened me with the confidence to pursue additional teacher training such as a CELTA and PGCE to further my career as an educator.”
The CIGP thus not only provided clarity on future career paths but also allowed you to gain relevant experience in teaching. What is next for you? Where do you see yourself in the long term?
“My next career goal is the Hong Kong Education Bureau NET (Native English Teacher) scheme which basically recruits native-speaking English teachers like me to work in local schools in Hong Kong. However, this role reaches further and includes key English department responsibilities.”
So you will be here for a little while longer! What advice would you give to new Chatteris Tutors who are joining the programme? Or, to those who are thinking of applying?
“The most useful advice I would give to any tutor joining the programme is to take the plunge and expand your comfort zone. The growth I experienced over my first year in Hong Kong was unprecedented. This not only refers to my professional career but also the numerous other opportunities in Hong Kong to expose yourself to new mindsets, cultures, or lifestyles. For me, particularly the ability to be able to personally meet different people from all over the world in a busy yet exciting environment has changed the way I look at life. In fact, I now find it hard to imagine having done anything differently.”
Thank you very much for those inspiring insights.
Are you a recent graduate wondering what’s next? Want to travel, gain direct experience, and make an impact in the lives of others?
Join the Chatteris International Graduate Programme by visiting http://chatteris.org.hk/application-for-chatteris-international-graduate-programme/