Teaching abroad can be the experience of a lifetime. When many teachers consider going abroad, thoughts frequently turn to travel and cultural experiences. While these are wonderful reasons to teach internationally, there are many other reasons to consider, such as expanding your family’s global perspective, growing your teaching experience and practice, and learning alongside diverse colleagues from around the world.
Some teachers view teaching abroad as something they will try “for a year or two”–and then they end up staying for four…or five…or more. BASIS International Schools enjoys a high retention rate of our teachers at the end of their contracts, but sometimes it is time to move on, whether it is to go back to their home country, or to a new opportunity.
We strive for every teacher’s experience at our schools to be a positive one, and when the time does come to say goodbye, they will have good memories and new teaching techniques to take with them wherever their journey leads next. One of our departing teachers shared his thoughts on what he will take away from his time at BASIS International School Shenzhen.
From former BASIS International School Shenzhen Math teacher Bud Rorison:
What teaching skills or ideas will you take away with you for your future teaching practice?
I worked with the Saxon math curriculum for the first time. It was very different from how I had taught math previously, and it took some time to learn the system. With the help of experienced teachers at my campus, I got into the rhythm of the course and I grew to like it. I believe it worked well for our students and I do intend to incorporate the strengths of that system into my work at my next school. Information is constantly spiraled throughout the course keeping previously taught concepts on the surface for students.
What are memories you will take with you about your experience?
I will always remember the impact these students have had on me. This was my first international teaching experience, and either by design or luck, I had many of these students all three years. I have been teaching for many years and I’ve worked at and left three schools before this. But these students will be the hardest to say goodbye to. Working with students for whom English is their second language always makes you a better teacher. You have to think carefully about the words you use and how you use them. One of my favorite parts of working with these students is teaching them new words, idioms, and English phrases that will likely come in handy when they attend university in an English-speaking country.
If you’re thinking of teaching internationally, and specifically teaching in a BASIS International School, I say do it!
Why Teach Abroad?
Freedom and flexibility are not only reasons to consider a career with BASIS International Schools–they are reasons to make the leap to teaching abroad in general. In the classroom, our teachers in many subjects often have the opportunity to explore new lessons and methods of achieving results. Outside the classroom, living in China offers the freedom to explore wonders both ancient and modern. Few, if any, will tell you they regret the experience! Long-term international teacher Kandace Jones shared with us her advice for those considering a career abroad:
From departing BASIS International School Hangzhou science teacher Kandace Jones:
What do you enjoy most about teaching internationally?
More than anything I enjoy the freedom of teaching abroad. For example, we have been abroad now for 5 years and I have been fortunate enough to take my son to 24 different countries and he is only 11 years old. I also love that my son has friends from all over the world.
Before COVID, if we had a 4 day weekend, we would fly to a nearby country for the weekend. So, teaching abroad has opened our eyes to so many cultures and to the world. I honestly think that this experience has shaped my son into a well-rounded world traveler. I can say that I have lived in Spain, the Middle East, and now China; these are things that you don’t normally hear from people. When my son was learning about the Nile River in Geography, I was able to print a picture of him because we sailed on the Nile. I have pictures of him in front of the Pyramids of Giza and at the Great Wall. These are learning experiences that can’t be replicated through a book.
What advice would you give teachers who are considering a career abroad?
To anyone that is considering moving abroad to teach, I say DO it! Your life will never be the same. I have become so much more aware of the world, other cultures, and most importantly of myself. I have made friends that are from all different walks of life and learned so much from everyone. So if you are afraid of it, take a chance. There is a saying about the three C’s in life: choice, chance, change. You must make the choice, to take the chance, if you want anything in life to change. I didn’t feel fulfilled at home, so I took a chance, and made a choice, and it has made a world of change in my life.
Thank You to Our Teachers
We honor and are thankful for the contributions of all of our current and former teachers, for the way you have contributed to our school communities, the impact you have left on your students, and the influence you have had on your colleagues. Lessons come to life when you share your creativity and insight with your students, and our schools would not be the special places they are without you.
Visit our careers website for more information about teaching with BASIS International Schools.