Our popular Meet the Teacher series is back with a few Q&As with BASIS International School Nanjing Elementary Humanities teacher Amber Scullion! She shares her journey into education, exploring China, and her advice to others considering teaching abroad with us in this fun profile.
What made you decide to go into education?
To be honest, I never decided to go into education–in a way it just sort of happened, but I can’t say that I am surprised. For one thing, it’s in my blood–my grandmother was a Chicago Public School teacher and my uncle is still one of the best teachers I know. He truly is an inspiration.
But honestly, I went to university very determined to go to law school, but instead of applying to law school I took an AmeriCorps position with the City of Memphis, which is what led me to where I am today. After my AmeriCorps service, I took an internship with a private school in Memphis, and it was there that I realized if I really wanted to make a difference–I needed to get into education. So I applied for Teach for America, and now here I am!
When did you first realize you had a passion for the humanities and elementary students?
Honestly, the elementary students are just always so sweet and caring. They can always bring a smile to your face, even when you are having a hard day. I am not biased towards Humanities; I have taught all subjects! I really love teaching math! And I also really love Social Studies and Reading! I am just passionate about teaching in general, my main goal is just showing up for the students every day and making sure they know that they are cared for.
What influenced your decision to teach abroad?
I have always loved the idea of moving and living abroad. I love to travel and explore new cultures. After some research, I decided to take the leap.
What do you enjoy most about teaching internationally?
So far I have enjoyed the people I get to work with and the cultural experiences I have had. I have been challenged in so many ways that I would not have been if I had stayed where I was, and I think that has made me a better teacher and just a more rounded person as well.
When you came to China, what did you find pleasantly surprising that you didn’t expect?
I was so surprised at how green it was here! Honestly, I did not expect to see so many trees and parks, and lakes everywhere. I really was not sure what I was expecting before I came, but I wasn’t expecting all of these parks! And I really love that!
Also there is so much to explore in China–places I did not even know to exist before! If I were not living here, I more than likely would never have visited. (Seriously, if you ever get the chance, check out Yunnan province–you won’t regret it!)
What advice would you give teachers who are considering teaching abroad?
Do it! But know it’s not always easy. Some days are easier than others. It’s important to have a good support system–back home and in your new home.
Read more from Ms. Scullion in our blog on Social Emotional Learning at BASIS International School Nanjing.
Learn more about careers with BASIS International Schools on our careers website.