You joined Dipont relatively early into your teaching career, is that right?
I had been teaching international students in Australia, having made the shift from a media career, before coming to Shanghai to teach English as a second language, quite a different professional setting to Dipont’s international centers. At that point I hadn’t really seen teaching as a long-term career option and actually struggled with my self-confidence. I wasn’t sure whether I was even good at what I was doing. But, over time, people began telling me that I was a great teacher and I started to believe a bit in myself as a teaching professional. I knew a few people from the Shanghai Dipont center and when the opportunity came up to interview for a job with Dipont at Hangzhou Foreign Languages School, they really encouraged me to go for it.
What about your experiences with Dipont has helped you gain more self-confidence?
Simply, Dipont has helped me become a much more confident teacher. I think in my initial interview John Birchill and Steve Woolbert (Director of Academic Programs) recognized a passion in me that I was then able to formalize through the training and professional development offered by Dipont. During my first year, I completed my PGCE and I worked closely with my center principal, who was my mentor at that time, and I realized that I already knew so much, I just hadn’t had it validated in such a professional setting before.
So your career has flourished in a way you couldn’t have imagined a few years ago?
Definitely! I was going to come to China for a year and then go back to my job in the media in Australia. But I decided to stay and now I can’t see myself moving back. I’ve realized an international teaching career could really work for me and I’m already considering what my career path with Dipont could be. The good thing about working at Dipont is that while you can see those career pathways for yourself, the people hiring and managing teachers see them for you too. They’re able to see what’s special in someone and they encourage you to keep developing and growing.