Our Meet the Teacher series moves the spotlight for the first time to a teaching couple!
About Mr. and Mrs. Lotus:
Lizzy grew up in Malaysia and Joey grew up in Arizona, U.S.A. This teaching couple fell in love after meeting in Michigan while both were attending college. They got married and then taught at BASIS Charter Schools in Arizona for a few years before moving to BASIS International School Park Lane Harbour in 2019.
What made you decide to go into education?
Lizzy: I began teaching when I was in high school. I was a reluctant child who was “voluntold” by my mom to teach two young kids English. Although I was at first reluctant to this new job, as I experienced teaching and gained more students I realized I loved seeing the “got it!” moments and being a part of the learning process with my students. To my grandpa’s great disappointment, I decided that I would change my college plans and get my credentials in teaching instead of nursing, which had been my prior life plan.
Joey: My first experience teaching was working in a tutoring center at my university. I found that tutoring math and science helped me strengthen my own content knowledge, while also helping others. When presented with an opportunity to teach biology full time, I was thrilled.
When did you first realize you had a passion for your subject area?
Lizzy: I fell in love with teaching while I was teaching ESL. I had thought that this was what I would teach after I got my degree, but I decided to get credentialed in Social Studies because that would enable me to not only teach ESL, but also Economics, History, and Political Science. I hadn’t taken economics in high school and as I was completing my teacher certification program and taking the economics classes required, I fell in love with the subject.
Joey: I have always loved animals. In college, I studied biology with a focus on animal physiology and behavior. My university experience taught me more about plants and fungi than I ever expected. Biology is the best!
What influenced your decision to teach abroad?
Lizzy: With my background teaching ESL, and my family living in Malaysia, I had known for a very long time that after graduation, I wanted to get back overseas. Originally I was planning on teaching ESL in South Korea after graduation.
After realizing that I loved economics and also after falling in love with and marrying Joey, my plans changed a little bit. There are many international schools or tuition centers where you can teach English as a Second Language, but there are far fewer where you can teach specific subjects such as Economics or Biology.
Joey: I have always wanted to travel and live in Asia. Lizzy grew up in Malaysia and I know that she considers Asia her real home. Teaching abroad was a great way to get our family “back” to Asia.
Why did you decide to teach abroad with BASIS?
Lizzy: Joey joined the BASIS network while I was still in college and I remember him calling me from Arizona while he was attending Summer Institute training. He had just seen the presentation about the international schools and wanted to tell me about it right away. He knew that I had always planned on moving back overseas after I completed my degree and he and I decided that day that we wanted to do that with BASIS. I needed to get two years of experience before applying to the schools in China and I was able to get that at BASIS Phoenix Central working with an amazing team and learning the ropes of the BASIS Curriculum.
Joey: Lizzy tells the story better. I was so excited about the BASIS International Schools in China right away. This plan was in the works from the very first time I learned about this potential opportunity.
What do you enjoy most about teaching internationally?
Lizzy: I love being closer to my friends and family in my hometown of Penang. I also feel very blessed to be able to teach the two things that I have the most passion for at the same time: ESL and Economics.
Joey: I love living in China. We are closer to family and friends and we get to experience a brand new culture and cuisine. Although I miss the U.S.A. sometimes, there are so many things to keep me busy here.
When you came to China, what did you find pleasantly surprising that you didn’t expect?
We both were surprised by how modern the big cities in China were. The amount of technology and new infrastructure wasn’t something we ever really though about before arriving. We lived in downtown Phoenix before moving to China so we thought we knew what big-city-life was like. I think everyone is pretty familiar with the really cool, historic, and rural types of adventures that you can have while living in China, but I don’t think that the super modern and technologically advanced big cities are as well known. We also didn’t really know what living in a less populated part of China would be like, but we have been pleasantly surprised with all the benefits of living in a quieter location. No rush hour traffic!
What advice would you give teachers who are considering teaching abroad?
BASIS is a really special school system. We have loved working for this company–in their charter schools in the U.S.A. and in their international schools. But there are many different approaches to education, and different schools have different strategies and ideologies. I would highly recommend joining the BASIS Curriculum Schools network abroad or at home in the United States if you enjoy teaching an advanced curriculum at a fast pace. BASIS isn’t going to be the “easiest” place to work, especially if you are moving abroad, there will be many challenges, but these challenges are worth it.
We can tell you from experience, if you move across the globe to teach you will have things that you miss and there will be uncomfortable moments. But the pros far outway the cons.
Visit our careers website for more information about opportunities with BASIS International Schools.