08 Dec, 2017
10 : 00
In this week’s teacher profile, we highlight one of Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s most experienced educators, ECE Co-Teacher Bridget Ren. A local Beijinger, Bridget has been with YCIS Beijing for 11 years, where her supportive team of colleagues and engaging work environment continues to fuel her passion for teaching.
In speaking with Bridget, she shares stories of her time working at YCIS Beijing, including the most inspiring and challenging aspects of her job, what it’s like to meet her students many years after they’ve left kindergarten and grown up, and why she feels that the YCIS Beijing ECE programme is so popular.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Bridget Ren. I was born in Beijing, and my entire family are local as well, so I grew up in a very traditional Chinese home with few opportunities to meet and have contact with foreigners.
When joining YCIS Beijing 11 years ago, it was the first time that I was able to make friends with foreigners. I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity because it’s broadened my outlook on life to speak with people whose backgrounds are so different from my own. I’ve worked with several different co-teachers, from the US, the UK and New Zealand, and it’s been fascinating to share ideas with them and learn about each other’s cultures.
When was the moment that you realised you wanted to become a teacher?
I can’t remember the moment that I realised I wanted to become a teacher, but I can distinctly remember the moment that I first understood my passion for teaching.
After finishing university, I worked for a short time in a local Chinese kindergarten. I didn’t enjoy working there, however, because the curriculum was extremely rigid, and I felt that the students there weren’t able to reach their full potential.
I was so discouraged that I thought about going into another profession. But one day, my best friend asked me if it was my career that I was unhappy with, or if it was simply that I didn’t like working at that particular school. Thinking of my situation with that question in mind, I was able to fully realise my passion for teaching and the desire to find and stay with a school that I feel provides children with an education to truly excel in life.
When I came to YCIS Beijing, I found exactly what I was looking for.
What’s the best part of your job, and what are the challenges?
With kindergarten students, every day is challenging. Young children have lots of questions and problems that they need help with, and as teachers, we must repeat the same answers over and over. For example, if a student takes a toy away from a friend, we have to tell them that they need to give the toy back, apologise, and then ask their friend politely if they can play with it. The student won’t learn this lesson the first time the situation happens, so we must repeat this lesson often until it sinks in.
Yet when it does sink in, and we can see the student’s growth and understanding of how to play well with others – those are my favourite moments as a teacher.
How does it feel to see your students grow and develop during the rest of their time at YCIS Beijing?
I first develop relationships with students when they’re in kindergarten, but it’s amazing to see them grow up and develop in later year levels and to see the people that they become.
At last September’s Welcome BBQ, I met the mother of one of my former students who is now in Year 6. She told me that her daughter had a writing assignment in Chinese class about her favourite teacher and that her daughter chose me! It made my heart feel warm, because though it’s been a long time, and of course, I still have very fond memories of this student, it was touching to know that she also still remembers me and the relationship we had.
Why do you feel that the ECE section is so popular at YCIS Beijing?
Because our ECE section is very popular and is currently full, we’ll expand next August to include additional classes and learning spaces.
I believe that the reason the programme is so popular is because we have a great team of teachers, all of whom are certified, experienced and professional. Our curriculum is also especially suited to support the learning needs of young children – we allow them to follow their own interests and encourage them in their learning journeys.
Finally, parents love the ECE Learning Community and that it allows children to engage with students of other ages, and with oversight from the entire ECE team of teachers. Having worked in other kindergartens, and been with YCIS Beijing for more than a decade, the programme here is definitely one of a kind and fully deserves its great reputation.