Baiyun Mountain Campus, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, October 17th, 2022: Howard Martyn is a foreign teacher from the School of English for International Business. With his personality characterized by its gentleness, courteousness, modesty and tolerance, he is praised as a treasure by his students. “Compared to my hometown in Canada, I' m more familiar with China,” he said.
Howard Martyn (second on the left) with his students
Falling in love with this charming land and Chinese culture
Howard’s 40-year teaching career started in Western Africa. “When I was young, I wanted to visit all around the world and be exposed to the culture as well. And it seemed to me that teaching was the most optimal way to achieve this goal,” he said. He chose his first educational job as a volunteer teaching English in Nigeria. Afterwards, Howard came to China, a place that allowed him to experience the human-touch of Chinese culture for the first time. “What I am glad to see is that, as a convention in China, being warm-hearted and helpful to others is still important,” he said.
In these years of working and living in GDUFS, Howard has felt this kind of friendliness and kindness at all times. “Whenever I encounter problems at work, there are always some enthusiastic colleagues helping me out,” he said. Once, during the pandemic, Howard met a technical challenge on the online teaching platform. However, he then received a suggestion from one of his students offering him a practical solution.
Feeling a warmth of teachers and students all the time, Howard does his best to give back to the university. “Even for students who are not from my class, I am always available to offer help if they ask me any questions about grammar and writing, or just want to talk about the life abroad and their future plans for study,” he said. Forty years later, Howard helps every student with his sincere heart.
As Howard has already lived in China longer than he did in Canada, Howard has fallen in love with this charming land and Chinese culture. More surprisingly, he offered a casual saying in Chinese: “teachers only teach basic knowledge, but students’ achievements come from their own hard work,” when invited to share his favorite quotes. “The reason why I especially adore this phrase is because it concisely describes the relationship between teachers and students in such an explicit way,” said Howard. Having been rooted in China for decades, Howard has a deep understanding of Chinese culture and always adds some Chinese elements in his teaching design, which benefits students a lot.
Teachers try their best to help students achieve their goals
“No matter where you teach in the world, everyone is interested in working hard. As teachers, it’s our job to help them succeed. The reason why I love teaching and our university is that I am working with a group of people who share the same goal as me, which refers to devoting ourselves to helping students’ dreams come true. As teachers, though we have different ideas and methods, our ultimate targets are the same.” With teaching experience in both Canada and China, he gives a thumbs up when it comes to Chinese students. “I think the students I meet everywhere in China are diligent, clever, modest and dare to strive. They will be the top ones whatever fields they are in,” he said.
The keen on education is immortal
“As a teacher, it’s necessary to stay enthusiastic about your subject, students and studying,” said Howard. Having been engaged in teaching for over 40 years, he concludes his teaching experience in these simple words. When encountering aspects that are too hard for students to understand, he constantly keeps trying to update his methods to ones that are easier to understand. “Sharing supplementary resources such as additional reading materials and videos is easy in today’s educational environment which supported by internet technology. So teachers can use these technique to supply more materials that inspire students and broaden their horizons,” he said, and his message to his students is simple. “What you should care about is not what is guaranteed or to be successful, but what you want to achieve, what kind of people you want to be and what you are going to leave to the world.”