Professional Profiles

Woman hopes to emulate her English teachers at SFU

Gloria Guo at SFU Vancouver. Photo by Dale Northey.

By Amy Robertson

When Gloria Guo decided to study teaching instead of economics, she had one goal: to become the kind of teacher she’d had at SFU Continuing Studies.

Guo completed her undergraduate degree in English language education in Shanghai, but her English wasn’t where she wanted it to be—so she decided to pursue further education in Canada.

She enrolled in SFU Continuing Studies’ English Language and Culture (ELC) Program, which is known for preparing international students for success in university.

In addition to improving their English, students learn to thrive in the Canadian education system by engaging with current, authentic materials from Canadian culture, including electronic and print media, television, and film.

Student learns to thrive in English at ELC

During her three months in ELC, Guo soaked up as much as she could—she asked dozens of questions, and her instructors accommodated every one of them, sometimes even staying after class to help her.

“I was a very demanding student!” she exclaims.

Her efforts—and her instructors’—led to results. She learned to understand not only the English language, but also how North Americans use it to communicate. She applied the things she learned every day.

Guo never forgot her instructors’ dedication and professionalism—even after beginning an undergraduate program at SFU months after leaving ELC.

At her family’s prompting, she majored in economics instead of education. As she studied, however, she struggled. Eventually, she realized she could never work in the financial industry.

Gloria Guo (centre) with a student (left) and Alma (right),
her supervising instructor from ELC, at SFU Vancouver.
Photo by Dale Northey.

Guo finds her calling

Having come from three generations of teachers, she could pursue only one career.

“I was born to give the gift of education,” she says.

More specifically, Guo wanted to pursue her longtime passion for English language education. Through volunteering with international students at SFU, she recognized her unique ability to help: as an international student herself, she understood their challenges.

Guo’s time in the English Language and Culture Program made her even more certain of her career path—it showed her the potential of the Canadian education system.

In August 2011, Guo enrolled in SFU’s Master of Education in Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language—and it was like coming home.

When the time came for Guo to complete her teaching practicum, remembering how much she admired the teachers in ELC, she asked to be assigned there for her practicum, which she began in June 2012.

It was a natural fit—learning from the teachers she wanted to be.

“Teaching is my destiny,” she says with certainty.