Hailing from South Africa, Helen Bramley is the new art teacher at the British School of Beijing (Shunyi campus). Bramley says she came to Beijing to join the dynamic art department at BSB, and to get involved in the community as well as to explore Eastern cultures and traditions. The first year teachers tells us about her childhood dream job and what she finds most rewarding about teaching.
What’s was your favorite subject when you were a student?
I had two, the visual arts because it is dynamic, creative and expressive, you learn so much about yourself and the way you view the world. My second favourite was biology, I am fascinated by growth and change, the way living things adapt and the systems that are involved in each living organism.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? What other career options did you explore before teaching?
I wanted to be an opera singer, I gave my mum a debut of my skills as an 8 year-old and she strongly encouraged me to explore alternate careers! I explored graphic design and auctioneering before setting my heart on teaching.
How would your students describe your teaching style?
I would hope they would say: approachable, encouraging, creative, challenging and fun.
What was your favorite book growing up? What are you currently reading? Roald Dahl’s The Big Friendly Giant was a classic growing up, along with Enid Blytons’ The Famous Five. As an adult my favorite is Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief and I am currently reading Jo Nesbo’s Police.
What do you like to do on the weekends?
I enjoy cycling through Shunyi and exploring the city of Beijing, we have done two trips to the Great Wall and a couple expeditions down town on the metro.
Where do you like to go on holiday?
I definitely want to see the Chinese tourist spots, Xian’s terracotta soldiers, the Chengdu Giant Panda research centre, the Giant Buddha in Leshan and the underwater city in Qiandaolake, Lion City that I would love to go and dive.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I am a PADI Dive master.
What’s currently on your playlist?
I love instrumental musical scores from movies, my learners will tell you that The Hobbit, Pirates of the Caribbean, Forrest Gump and Beauty and the Beast are all on my playlist.
What’s do you find most rewarding about teaching? I love spending quality time with young artists who are unrestricted in their ideas and just bursting with creativity.