Chris Bogner

Chris grew up in a small, rural town southwest of Boston. Early adventures in scouting led to identifying trees from leaves and bark, birds from their feathers and mammals from their footprints.

An avid drawing artist, Chris considered architectural studies after high school, but in the end he got his BA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a major in English and two minors in German and anthropology. Chris spent several years in the photography business, developing rolls of film and turning negatives into prints of many sizes from passport to poste. It’s a great job for a voyeur - there’s nothing he hasn’t seen in one form or another.

Chris is passionate about the visual arts, spoken language, dreams, comfort food and baking, reading, exploring and stories of experiences of the human condition.

How did you get into teaching English? 

At the photography labs where I worked in the ‘90s, I began teaching new developers and printers before I realized I might parlay this into an extended career with English. 

Where have you traveled? 

My parents emigrated from Europe, so childhood summer vacations involved a trans-Atlantic jaunt every five years or so. Otherwise, it was the beaches of Cape Cod or the mountains of New Hampshire. As an adult, I’ve covered bits of Central America and much of Europe because teaching there meant traveling there. I spent 11 years living in Poland, a wonderful place to travel to and from, as innumerable railways converge to form a hub with overnight trains to countless destinations – you can wake up in time for café et croissant in Paris, or kaffee und strudel in Vienna. So many adventures await you from the end of a train line.

When did you realize English teaching had become a career for you?

It was very early on. I loved being in foreign cities for a number of a few years before deciding to pack up and move on to the next city. In a nutshell, I am a migratory homebody, but I’ve been very lucky to have such a lifestyle fit my career.

How has travel changed you as a person?

Travel and learning languages have sharpened me and given me wisdom and an appreciation for the little things in life. Patience, adaptability, open-mindedness, perspective – these are also things I’ve gained from travel. You don’t get so ticked off when things don’t go your way anymore after a great number of travel experiences. The journey outweighs the destination. Think you are already adaptable? Get ready for an upgrade!

What qualifications did you get to advance your career in TEFL?

I got a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification from UCLA before throwing myself into teaching English to Polish teens, young adults and businesspeople all over northern Poland for eleven years.  In 2005, I completed the Cambridge DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults) course. Since returning to the U.S. in 2009, I also have become a TKT Practical Assessor and I trained up to be a Cambridge CELTA Trainer in 2014.

What led you to become a CELTA teacher trainer?

A certain sensation, like an itch to scratch, that hinted I wasn’t giving myself everything I needed from my teaching career to continue to improve and grow professionally. While I have always enjoyed attending conferences and workshops, I found I enjoyed conducting workshops meant for teachers who wanted to stretch themselves beyond where they stood now. Becoming a CELTA Trainer was a natural progression.

What advice would you give a trainee about to start their CELTA?

Read and observe, take time to digest it, introduce it into your teaching practice, and reflect on it. The intensive four-week courses are intensive, so be ready to breathe it.

What advice would you give to people looking to travel the world teaching English?

Listen up, armchair travelers! Until you make that leap, you’ll never know what you’re missing. Sure, it might seem incredibly daunting before you go, or even quite messy once you begin. But if you just do it without over-analyzing it, the rewards far outweigh any worries you may have. It all gets figured out before long: like the proverb says, your mind broadens. At some point, you catch yourself wondering why you ever felt apprehensive about it in the first place.