Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beijing, Round 2

I've had another interview with the Beijing school.The first was with the principal and your usual fare: 
  • What experience do I have teaching kindergarten? 
  • How would I organize a kindergarten classroom?
  • How are my classroom management skills?
  • Why would I be a good addition to their school?
  • What has made me want to work and live in China?
  • What are some of my strengths?
  • What are are some of my weaknesses?
  • How do I feel about parent communication? What would I do to facilitate open dialogue?
  • How do I assess learning? What documentation would I keep?
  • How do I go about planning lessons? 
  • What do I feel is important regarding kindergarten learning?
As the principal explained it, the interview was mean to determine if I had the technical qualifications for the position. If, in her opinion, I did, she'd then pass her notes along to HR and the school's director. 

Well, I had my second interview, this time with both the principal and the director of operations, both of whom are very friendly and personable. It was more about ensuring I had a clear idea of the school and its expectations than anything else. It's a Canadian school that's only in its third year of operation, its student body, currently just over six hundred, kept purposely low. Most of its students are affluent Chinese nationals, looking to learn English and prepare themselves for eventually continuing their education in North America. They're still awaiting licensing from British Columbia and, though they borrow heavily from the B.C. curriculum, they also take elements from Ontario and Nova Scotia and tend towards generalized learning expectations. Like many schools, their goal is to be a part of the community 

In regards to responsibilities, in addition to planning, teaching, and assessment, I'd be expected to volunteer for an hour after school while the kids are participating in various activities waiting for their parents to pick them up.  There's no special needs focus at the school, but they're flexible in terms of differention. Their focus is getting the knowledge downloaded into the kiddies' brains; how I'd go about achieving that goal is open to discussion so long as it's based on the individual needs of the student in question. 

With regards to the students, the two main issues students present are in regards to ESL and discipline. Spoiler Alert: Chinese children speak Mandarin. I know, I know, total surprise, LOL. However, it could prove a challenge when the only English speaking person in the room is the adult trying to teach them. Discipline-wise, most of the kids are only children coming from homes where they're the centre of attention for seven adults (parents, both sets of grandparents, and a nanny). Sharing anything with other children - never mind an adult's attention - is something they have virtually no experience with. Challenging, but not the worst to deal with.

All in all, it sounds very promising.  The school's still growing, still forming itself and finding its own identity. Getting in on something like this while it's still in its infancy, being able to have a hand in influencing its growth...talk about your once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Even if it is in Beijing, LOL.

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