Our teachers are a crucial aspect of what makes our school communities special. They hail from all over the world, and are a truly international community of professional educators. In this Meet the Teacher profile, BASIS Bilingual School Shenzhen Early Education teacher Cassie Sheppard shares with us her journey to teach abroad and what is unique about the bilingual school environment. She is originally from the United States and this is her seventh year teaching abroad.
What made you decide to go into education?
I’ve been working in education sporadically for a while. My first ever job was working summer camps with preschoolers. After graduating from university, I moved to South Korea to teach ESL and that’s when I really fell in love with teaching and decided to pursue it as a career.
When did you first realize you had a passion for early years students?
Two of the years that I lived in South Korea, I taught as a Kindergarten Art and Science teacher and had so much fun! Young children are always excited about learning and trying new things. The rate in which they grow socially, academically, and behaviorally is an outstanding thing to watch and be a part of.
What influenced your decision to teach abroad?
Originally, I was interested in moving to a different country to change things up, experience a different culture and to seek more travel opportunities. I have continued teaching abroad because there are many opportunities and I’ve learned so much from the other international teachers that I’ve worked with.
What do you enjoy most about teaching internationally?
I love the diversity and new experiences that it brings. I feel that I have and will continue to learn so much as an educator working abroad!
What has been unique about teaching in a bilingual school?
Bilingual schools are unique because you’re teaching in an environment where children are learning and using two languages at the same time. Students often require extra “think” time to process and then understand new content in both languages.
When you came to China, what did you find pleasantly surprising that you didn’t expect?
I was surprised by how much you rely on your phone! You need your phone for everything–ordering food, shopping online, paying in stores, identification, health purposes, etc. But this makes so many things quick and convenient.
What advice would you give teachers who are considering teaching abroad?
Do it, you won’t regret it! I would advise teachers looking to move abroad to do some research ahead of time and speak to other teachers currently living in the country or city you’re considering. And if you do actually make the move, make the most of it by trying new foods, meeting new people, traveling, and immersing yourself in a new culture!
For more information about careers with BASIS International Schools, visit our website.
Read more about BASIS Bilingual School Shenzhen from the Head of School here.