“You supported me while I earned my Ph.D., and now it’s my turn to support your dreams.”

That is how my husband, Professor Wang, responded when I told him I wanted to change my field of study from electrical engineering to education. This was 20 years ago, and I am incredibly grateful for his understanding and support throughout the years.

Since 2002, my husband and I have studied and worked abroad. As an electrical engineer, I intended to pursue my master’s in electrical engineering. However, after experiencing some university lectures, I discovered a way in which I diverged from my classmates. When solving problems, I had clear lines of reasoning and rigorous logic, but my classmates had more diverse, unique solutions and created deep, engaging projects. I found myself intrigued by their methods and approaches to studying. When discussing this difference with my classmates and professors, they told me that this was how they were taught and guided since their youth. One of my classmates even brought me to visit her old high school and meet her former teachers. This experience led me to develop a deep interest in education, and I wanted to enter classrooms to study how teaching and instruction shaped childhood development. I decided to transfer to education.

Of course, transferring to education from engineering is a challenging journey. To better understand American education systems and classroom teaching, I pursed an undergraduate and master’s degree in education. Each semester, I would ask my mentor to allow me to intern at a different K-12 school, where I could enter the classroom, interact with the students, and learn from the teachers. At the same time, I could apply the theory and strategies I had learned in university in an authentic classroom environment. On the journey, I was helped by many classmates, teachers, and mentors. When I finally graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University, they were all proud of me and celebrated my success.

After graduation, I taught in public and private schools in Arizona. Teaching is my passion. I enjoy being around students, interacting inside and outside the classroom, guiding their studies, helping them overcome challenges, developing confidence, and pushing them to become independent lifelong learners. During my tenure as an educator and administrator, I have come to deeply understand the impact and significance a quality teacher can have on their students’ growth and development.

In 2015, I joined BASIS International Schools, which I found to be a platform that gave teachers infinite support and room for development. I started my journey with BASIS as a math teacher, then undertook the roles of Head of Primary, Vice Head of School, and now Head of School at BASIS Bilingual School Shenzhen. BASIS International & Bilingual Schools are characterized not only by high curriculum standards, but also by masterful, cooperative teaching. BASIS teachers continuously collaborate, discuss, and learn from each other and arrange workshops for professional development. Each teacher cultivates their unique teaching style with a collaborative growth mindset. BASIS also has a great community of hard-working students who absorb knowledge tirelessly, growing under teachers’ guidance to become thoughtful, capable, and knowledgeable individuals that will ultimately lead and improve our world.

I admire and cherish our campus culture. I draw from my experience as a teacher to understand, support, and lead my team of educators and students to grow and develop alongside BASIS Bilingual School Shenzhen.

Jennie Pan
Head of School
BASIS Bilingual School Shenzhen

Learn more about teaching abroad with BASIS International Schools on our careers website.

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