We spoke to three new teachers at the International School of Beijing (ISB) who recently underwent the school's comprehensive orientation program; covering not only their professional needs, but also readying them for life in Beijing. ISB's Human Resources Director, Mimi Lee, said the main goal when settling in new staff is making them feel welcomed, valued, and exceptionally well-supported. "We have a fantastic welcoming committee: the entire leadership team, our awesome mentoring couple, and outstanding people on the Facilities, Government Affairs and HR teams, who work very closely, and extremely well, together," said Ms. Lee.
Brian Germain, High School Social Studies Teacher
Brian Germain has previously worked at schools in China and the US. American-born, he comes from a long line of teachers and knows first-hand the rewards of the profession. He told us that "teaching has profound effects on shaping the future of the world." He endeavors to bring enthusiasm and energy to his classroom, and guides his students toward the pursuit of happiness by supporting their social and developmental needs in parallel to learning about social studies.
Excited to join ISB, Mr. Germain most looks forward to contributing to the culture of collaboration between staff members. "In having so much to offer professionally, ISB attracts top-tier teachers. I am excited and humbled to get to work with and learn from them," he said. "I feel profound professional satisfaction as I truly believe that every member of staff is working to support the Mission and Vision of ISB, and always keeping in mind what's best for kids."
Mr. Germain is extremely impressed with the on-boarding process at ISB. "All I keep saying is 'red carpet treatment,'" he said. "This is the best induction I've ever been part of. We are well-informed, well-fed, and well-looked after. Everyone around me just seems so happy!"
Pippa Grant, Grade 4 Teacher
New Zealander Pippa Grant has previously worked at schools in Japan and New Zealand. Ms. Grant chose to be a teacher because she enjoys the fresh, unstructured way children view the world. She keeps up with innovative learning approaches, and will incorporate a book called Clarity in the Classroom into her classroom approach this year. "I plan on building up learning-focused relationships with my students and using formative assessment in a way that motivates them and helps with goal-setting," she said.
Ms. Grant told us that ISB feels like a perfect fit. "I really like the curriculum and style of pedagogy - it is right up my alley," she said. "And I appreciate that the leadership team interact and collaborate together with the entire staff. It is very dynamic and yet everyone is on the same page."
She had nothing but praise for the orientation process. "Everyone in the whole school was involved in welcoming us. Everyone had a role to play," said Ms. Grant. She cited round-the-clock support from the HR department, professional development, collaboration, and the humor and thoughtfulness shown by the mentoring couple, as just some of the many reasons why she has had a fantastic start to working at ISB.
Margaret Slooter, Grade 2 Teacher
Margaret Slooter previously worked in several schools in her native Australia. For Ms. Slooter the decision to become a teacher was instinctual. "I always knew I wanted to teach," she said. In the classroom, the cornerstones of her approach are flexibility, enthusiasm, eagerness to learn and teach, and creating a joyful atmosphere in which learning can take place.
ISB's L21 curriculum was a big draw for Ms. Slooter. "The words innovation, inspirational, and whole-child stood out to and resonated with me," she said. "And being here I can really see that this school cares about not only each and every student but also their teachers, support staff, parents – basically everyone who is involved with the school. Everyone has a voice and everyone is valued." Ms. Slooter also spoke of ISB's culture of work-life balance and personal growth, access to amazing facilities, and professional development opportunities as major contributing factors in her decision to relocate to China.
Happily, the transition to Beijing has been far easier than Ms. Slooter expected. "That's because communication and support have been outstanding," she said. "We've been helped every step of the way. It's been a wonderful start, and I've no doubt there are some amazing experiences to come."