Henry Burch is an experienced chemistry teacher who has worked at BASIS International Schools campuses in Shenzhen and Nanjing. In addition to teaching, he serves as a Course Advisor (CAD) for Grades 6 and 7 chemistry, mentoring and supporting fellow teachers across the BASIS International & Bilingual Schools • China network. Now in his fourth year at BASIS, Henry has effectively navigated a transition between campuses, completed iQTS professional training, and taken on a teacher-leader role. 

Beginning in Shenzhen 

Although my home is in Nanjing, I initially took a job in 2020 at BASIS International School Shenzhen as a middle school chemistry teacher. At that time, BASIS International School Nanjing was a newly established campus and had no positions available, so I agreed to work in Shenzhen until a suitable position opened up in Nanjing.  

My first semester at BASIS International School Shenzhen was possibly the hardest I’ve worked in my life. As a British teacher adapting to an unfamiliar American system, I needed to do a great deal of lesson planning. Additionally, adjusting to the BASIS system was challenging. However, after the first semester, I became more comfortable and found my stride. 

I spent two years in Shenzhen, which was tough due to my long-distance separation from my wife in Nanjing. But I enjoyed my time in Shenzhen, met a lot of great people, and even had the opportunity to teach AP Chemistry for a year. 

Transition to Nanjing 

I finally returned to BASIS International School Nanjing as a middle school chemistry teacher in my third year. With both middle and high school experience, I felt I was in a good position to help other BASIS teachers, so I accepted the Course Advisor (CAD) position in addition to my teaching responsibilities. 

BASIS International School Nanjing provided great onboarding, and my familiarity with BASIS operations meant the transition to a new school wasn’t difficult. I did struggle a bit at first as a CAD; however, the Chief Executive Head of Schools Office (CEHOS) helped guide and support me.  

My Advice 

Whenever I’ve been interested in trying something new at BASIS, I’ve asked around and always found someone willing to lend a helping hand. Talk with everyone and ask questions! 

Be sure to take advantage of the professional development stipend and support. Last year, I completed iQTS training. BASIS International School Nanjing Head of Middle School Mark Hartley was good enough to sacrifice many hours tutoring me, and BASIS contributed toward the cost. 

I was pleased to learn at the Summer Institute this year how many more BASIS International & Bilingual Schools • China campuses are opening in the near future. It feels like we’re still in the early days and getting in on the ground floor can pay great dividends. I’ve seen first-hand how founding faculty members can have meteoric rises. The world of BASIS can change suddenly; keep your ear to the ground, and you’ll be surprised at what opportunities spring up. 

Henry Burch, Ph.D.
Chemistry Teacher G6, G7, and G8
Course Advisor G6 and G7 Chemistry 

For more information about teaching abroad with BASIS International Schools, visit our careers website.

Join us this Thursday, November 9th at 5:30 p.m. US MST/Friday, November 10th at 8:30 a.m. China Time for a live webinar about opportunities for the 2024-25 school year with BASIS International School Nanjing! Register Here.


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