17 Aug, 2020
10 : 00
The previous academic year was one with many challenges, changes and, most importantly, numerous learning opportunities for our YCIS Beijing community. With dates recently announced for the beginning of the new semester by the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, plans are in motion for the return of our staff back to Beijing. Amongst those currently abroad – we want to welcome the new additions to our community, also scheduled to be back in Mainland soon.
Although the beginning of their journey in a new job, city and country has not been as smooth as they had envisioned due to the closing of borders as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, they are all in good spirits and keeping positive attitudes in anticipation for their new roles in ECE, Primary and Secondary.
According to Sandy Li, YCIS Beijing’s Head of Human Resources, “We are working closely with teachers to ensure they can return to China as soon as possible.” This is taking place despite respective countries having different visa application procedures. The new group of teachers consists of citizens from the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the United States, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago, to name a few.
The process to have staff back in China began months ago with extensive “communication with the local education bureau to find a solution to have teachers back,” according to Ms Li. This was followed by several steps which culminated in the submission of PU invitation letters that grant permission for teachers to apply for visas in the countries they are in.
Once those letters were received, teachers were guided by the school on how to get the visa. “We later got in contact with various travel agents to help find flights for teachers to return to China,” added Ms Li.
It is important to note that some teachers are in their home countries and others, like some returning staff, are still in countries they visited during Chinese New Year when the pandemic first started. Despite this, there has been light at the end of what seemed like a perpetual tunnel.
First, it was the approval for Paul Bawden, our Education Director to return to Mainland China after being in Hong Kong since January, and for Hayley Edge, Secondary Coordinator and Head of Humanities to return just in time for the academic year, after being in South Korea for the past three months.
With the larger group expected to also return now that the dates are confirmed for the academic year, we are looking forward to beginning the year on a hopeful note.
Meet Our New TeachersAlicia Milne, Primary Art TeacherMs Alicia Milne hails from Trinidad and Tobago and has been in Beijing since 2018. She accepted an offer to teach in China after working as an art teacher at a public school in her home country for seven years. Her first experience with YCIS Beijing was in 2017 when she was the Artist in Residence. Speaking to why she joined YCIS Beijing, she said, “Joining the teaching faculty at YCIS Beijing was an easy decision to make. I knew it would be a good fit for me as I had already witnessed first-hand the supportive school culture and the amazing students. I am excited to join a school that values and supports the arts.” She is eager to get back into the classroom and collaborate with her new colleagues.
Joseph Tagliarini, School CounsellorMr Joseph Tagliarini is a UK citizen who will be in Beijing for the first time in the coming school year. His experience as a school counsellor spans 15 years, and he has worked with both children and adults. As a therapist, he enjoys incorporating creative arts in his lessons and interactions with students to facilitate learning. In addition to experiencing the culinary aspect of China and developing friendships, he is also looking forward to fostering connections with students, his colleagues and parents. But also “to build relationships that foster growth, trust and inspiration in my team, albeit it face to face, online, home visits or even playing football with students during playtime,” he shared.
Robert Ondere, Mathematics and Digital Literacy TeacherMr Robert Ondere from Kenya taught Mathematics in South Carolina, USA for the past 14 years. Before that, he taught Mathematics and Computer Science in his home country. His move to Beijing was prompted by a conversation about exciting opportunities in China with a friend, which led him to YCIS Beijing. He will be joined by his wife and two children and is looking forward to sharing his vast knowledge with students through fun and engaging experiences. “My goal for this coming year is to harness the power of digital tools to create a rewarding and memorable e-learning experience for my students. There will be nothing more rewarding to me than my students showing substantial growth in their learning,” he said. Through his family’s love for travelling, he is eager to share their rich collection of experiences over the years with students.
Tony Kydd, Economics TeacherMr Tony Kydd is not new to the YCIS community. He previously worked at YCIS Chongqing and has lived in Xi’an before his recent decision to move to a bigger city like Beijing as it provided new opportunities. Mr Kydd was inspired by movies such as “To Sir, with Love” and “Dead Poets Society” to become a teacher as well as aspects of the profession which he finds rewarding, which includes opportunities such as the YCIS CAS programme. In the upcoming school year, he is looking forward to “Refining my pedagogy both online and in the classroom, collaborating with peers on engaging lessons both online and in the classroom, and maintaining top IGCSE and IBDP scores.”
Ms Laura Malone, ECE Teacher
Ms Laura Malone from Ireland lived in Beijing for three years before returning back to her home country but is back to explore the capital. Ms Malone holds an honours degree in Early Childhood Care and Development and has worked in the field for over nine years as a homeroom leader, progressing to assistant manager and later Early Years setting manager. What she finds rewarding about her position is observing and facilitating development emotionally and socially in young learners, while offering encouragement and setting goals. She is “very excited to work for YCIS Beijing to cultivate positive working relationships with my colleagues and to continue my development as an individual and a teacher. I believe as responsible educators, we should always strive to better ourselves.”
The school’s relevant departments have been working tirelessly to ensure teachers have a seamless return to Beijing. Even though they will be subject to a mandatory hotel quarantine when they land, Ms Li reassured us that the school “will provide support as much as we can to ensure teachers’ safety and wellbeing.”