Written by Melissa Shaw, Primary Coordinator
Hello John! As you come to the end of your time in the organisation, tell us a little about your career with YCIS.
I joined YCIS as a Year 6 teacher at YCIS Beijing in 2011; my first international school experience. I have since taken up roles as Campus Coordinator at YCIS Qingdao in 2013, and then moving to YCIS Pudong as one of the Primary Coordinators in 2016. Along the way I have worked with many wonderful students, colleagues and parents. I have made some great friends. Perhaps the most significant personal ‘achievement’ was meeting my now wife, Clair, at YCIS Beijing in 2012! Of the three cities, Beijing will always be special to me because of that, but I have enjoyed Shanghai the most overall!
What do you think is special about YCIS?
For me, YCIS has allowed me to grow as a teacher and a leader. I know Clair feels the same. I have felt supported but never constrained by my role, and I have learned from some fantastic people that I have worked for and with. The students have a brilliant ‘can do’ attitude. I also like that YCIS embraces its location: China. We are certainly not a ‘bubble’ of Westernism within Shanghai, but we are deeply committed to the best of East and West. Finally, I really value the fact that YCIS never feels “corporate” – it has a really special atmosphere where the focus is always on the best quality provision for the students.
Where are you moving onto, and what are your feelings about your move?
I am moving to San Silvestre School in Lima, Peru, as Head of Primary. Clair will be working there as a Year 6 teacher. I am hugely excited by the opportunity to lead a section of what is quite a large school. Going to a completely different part of the world promises to be an incredible experience for Clair and I. Hopefully my Spanish will come on a bit better than my Chinese has! Working at YCIS Shanghai, I have worked for some inspirational leaders, and I hope to be able to put a little of that into practice. It is also a time of some nervousness: it looks like I will be starting off by working “remotely”, which will be interesting.
What changes have you seen in your time at YCIS Pudong
Regency Park and Century Park have really come together as “one school” during the time we have been here. I have had the opportunity to work closely with the ECE and Secondary School, as well as with the Primary School, and I can, hand on heart, say that the dedication to the students stretches from K2 to Year 13. I can also honestly say I have never worked at a school with such a relentless focus to become better each year – for example, looking at the CCA programme when I arrived and now, is like night and day. This focus on improving and improvising has meant that during this current COVID-19 crisis, our school has really done well as a leader in e-Learning. We are used to innovating.
What are your hopes for the future of YCIS Pudong?
I hope that we can continue to grow the school and keep becoming better. Actually, I know this will happen. What we have here is a world class programme with some of the most committed teachers and leaders I have worked with, and it produces some brilliant students. Clair and I will miss it very much.