“Be quiet Mom!”

That was my response upon graduating high school when my mother, a lifelong educator, told me I was going to be a teacher. At that time, I had grand plans to be some high-powered, globe-trotting businessman so I went on to study International Business and Economics in college. It only took me three months of working in my first entry-level finance job to realize that I had no interest in continuing down this unfulfilling path. Soon thereafter, I booked a flight to go back to China, where I relished my time studying the language and culture during a year-long study abroad in college, to try my hand at teaching. I was immediately hooked. Mothers do know best after all.

Dan Schneider Great Wall 2008

Visit to the Great Wall of China in 2008 as a study-abroad student

Teaching has been an ideal fit for me as my enthusiasm, personality quirks and interests continually find ways to integrate into a school environment. Here my booming voice was not an annoyance, but an asset. My love of all things games (video games, board games, tabletop roleplaying games, etc.) not only connects me with students but provides opportunities for engaging learning activities. And most of all the work we do as teachers is actually something meaningful and seeing the impacts made in students’ lives continually replenishes my love for the craft.

Dan Schneider Plank Walk Huashan Mountain

The Plank Walk of Huashan Mountain

Dan Schneider cycling tour of Yunnan province

Cycling tour of Yunnan province

Fast forward to now, this cheesehead from Wisconsin is now entering his 13th year working in China in the field of education. During those years I continued my formal academic pursuits in education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and have worn many different hats within schools: economics/business teacher, department chair, college counselor, academic director, and more. China has also been a place where I have had the opportunity for adventures outside of teaching–from biking thousands of kilometers through the mountainous Yunnan province, traversing treacherous paths in Huashan Mountain, to ultimately settling down in China and making it my home. China is where I met my wife, where my son was born, where I have spent the majority of my adult life, and where I see myself being for the foreseeable future.

The Schneider Family

The Schneider Family

Dan Schneider BASIS International School Guangzhou closing speech

Delivering the closing speech at BASIS International School Guangzhou’s inaugural graduation ceremony

Yet the time working for BASIS International Schools in China has made the biggest mark on me as an educator and given me the opportunities to pursue my professional and personal goals. As a teacher here I was able to thrive. I was given support to succeed and the freedom to make my class my own. During my time as a teacher here I was fortunate to be the coach of the 2019 National Economics Challenge International Championship winning team and to be awarded the University of Chicago – Outstanding Educator Award. Then later as the Senior Director of College Admissions and administrator, I felt blessed to be part of a network that stressed the importance of reflection and continually looks for ways to innovate. But what makes BASIS International Schools different are the people drawn to its doors. The students are eager to learn and ambitious and challenge you as an educator and constantly surprise you with not only their academic ability but their wit, charm and passion. The same goes for my colleagues, who are not only a source of knowledge and inspiration but of support and laughter. And it is this fruitful environment that leads to impressive results–whether it is in college admissions, international competitions, or in the personal character development of students.

BASIS International School Guangzhou National Economics Challenge champions 2019

2019 National Economics Challenge International Champions in NYC

The Schneider family at the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan

Myself, my wife Malisa, and son Leon in front of the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan

Looking ahead I am honored and humbled to be the Founding Head of School for the upcoming BASIS International & Bilingual School Wuhan. This will be the fourth school in China where I was a founding faculty member and have seen the excitement and craziness that happens when building something from the ground up. There is always a new problem to tackle and a new opportunity that awaits, a natural draw for someone with an adventurous spirit like myself.

Today Wuhan is a vibrant and modern metropolis, yet is has cultural significance and a rich history due to its location on the Yangtze River where it has played an important geographic role. For millennia it has been the gateway to the heart of China but is also renowned throughout China for its academic prowess and focus–we hope to keep that tradition alive at BASIS International & Bilingual School Wuhan.

Dan Schneider BASIS International & Bilingual School Wuhan construction site August 2022

Visiting the Wuhan campus construction in August 2022

Visit our careers website for more information about teaching with BASIS International Schools.

Apply now to be considered for teaching opportunities for the 2023-24 school year with BASIS International & Bilingual School Wuhan.

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