Meet Mark Wilkerson, Vice Head of Middle School at BASIS International School Park Lane Harbour. Mark has been working at the school in various leadership roles since its founding in 2018. He has also been the school’s Speech/Debate coach since 2018. Read on to learn more about Mark and how he has grown and succeeded at BASIS, and the extraordinary sense of community at BASIS International School Park Lane Harbour.
What influenced you to teach abroad? Why in China?
In many ways, China is a true land of opportunity. They have an ambitious, growing middle class and experienced great social mobility in the last several generations. That, coupled with a long tradition of valuing education, means that parents hold schools in high regard and support the schools they know care about their children. It feels great knowing that when I call a parent to talk about their child, I am going to receive valuable positive feedback, and I can work with the family to create a meaningful plan of action for their child.
How has BASIS International Schools supported you as an expat faculty member?
Immediately upon arriving at BASIS, I found the school’s operations and logistics team committed, optimistic and community-oriented. Over the years, they have worked with the academic team to overcome challenges and to help teachers and students in need. Whenever a teacher has fallen ill or had medical or other needs, they have been taken care of promptly and professionally. There is a genuine sense of family within the community. We celebrate the good times and overcome the challenges together. I also appreciate the large celebrations that take place during the holiday season. Gifts, special events, and elaborate dinners have really helped the foreign teachers feel welcomed and appreciated! Last, during my time at the school, my wife and I welcomed our son, Atticus, into the world. My school has been extremely supportive of my son, welcoming him into the community and providing him with continuous support. Now that he will begin Pre-K next year with BASIS, I know he will receive continued love as a valued member of the school.
What has been unique in your experience with BASIS International Schools compared to other schools you’ve worked at?
I have been able to really grow as a teacher leader here. The expectations for teachers and leaders are high but very transparent. We are all placed in good positions to succeed because of the network approach to problem solving. Whenever I have faced a conundrum or a novel situation, I have found so much wisdom from other leaders at my school and the other BASIS International Schools. We are a true network of schools, and every year our schools collaborate more, troubleshoot problems together, and create common-sense policies and procedures that benefit our teachers and students in the classroom.
How has BASIS International Schools supported your professional development?
Over the past three years, I have been working on my Ed.D. I have had ample opportunities to lead several action research projects in my school in areas such as academic support and advisory that I believe have helped our students while helping me towards my own goals. With one year to go before graduation, I continue working with teachers in my school and even in the network to continue expanding on the practices I have implemented at my school.
What advice would you give to teachers and administrators who are considering working overseas?
The best advice I can give to those who wish to work in a school overseas is to do your research before signing on to a school. Some schools are “fly-by-night” schools that are not committed to excellence or high expectations for their students or staff. Some schools don’t truly want educators, they simply want foreign faces to show off to the parents. They are not committed to staff and student development. A school like BASIS, however, is committed to excellence, adheres to its core values, and provides ample resources and support so that all teachers can provide excellent care and content to their students in the classroom.
Vice Head of Middle School
BASIS International School Park Lane Harbour
For more information about teaching with BASIS International Schools, visit our careers website.