Damon Hou began a Teaching Fellows program at Dipont Huayao Collegiate School, Kunshan, in 2019. Three years later he is thriving as a local teacher on the rise.
After graduating with a Masters Degree in International Business in 2019, Damon had dreams of becoming a high-flying businessman, living a James Bond life of travel, high stakes, and make or break conversations.
Then he became a businessman.
Here Damon talks about how he is learning again, after making the journey from university to the classroom, and how Dipont’s Teaching Fellows program gave him a new perspective on his career potential.\
What made you change your career direction from business to education?
After I graduated I went to a job fair and got a lot of offers from companies. I also got an invite from Dipont Huayao Collegiate School, Kunshan.
I wasn’t sure about being a teacher at that point. So I joined a Chinese top 500 company in Ningbo, as a businessman.
When I started in the company, I found that it can be a really dull life. I had thought that being a businessman would be very fun. I could travel the world, meet lots of interesting people, and earn a lot of money. It wasn’t like that.
You just do orders, and go to factories. Besides that, during the pandemic it was really hard to do international trips. So I decided to change my career plan.
How has your life changed from being a student to being a teacher?
As a student you always think about yourself. You have fun, and then you have a class, then go and have fun again. But a teacher has more responsibility.
You have to always think about your students. You have to think about how to make your lesson plan more attractive, and about if you should be stricter with your students, or less strict. Even during weekends and holidays I find myself thinking about how to improve my classes. The students take up your life!
What are some things that you have learnt from the Teaching Fellows (TF) program?
The TF program is really good to start off your career as a teacher. You don’t have to do much lesson planning, but you can learn from the teachers. You have the chance to observe their classes, and how they plan their lessons.
You also spend a lot of time with your students, so you learn a lot about how to manage their behavior, as well as your relationship with them. It is a bit the same with parents and colleagues. You learn a lot about working with others.
What subjects do you teach now that you are a full-time teacher?
For English Maths I teach grade 1 5. For Chinese students I teach grade 1 to 3. It’s not so difficult, as elementary level maths is quite basic, but some questions can be tricky.
When you are doing your lesson plan, actually, you are learning again, because you need to refresh your memory about the topics, and you have a different perspective. Previously, as a student, you just learnt the knowledge. As a teacher, you need to think about how you can help your kids gain the knowledge.
What has been your biggest achievement at this early stage in your teaching career?
I have improved a lot in how I deliver my lessons. I am more confident now. The first time I stood up to teach I was very nervous. Actually I had the textbook, but I didn’t know which activities I should do with my students. It was really scary.
Now I am very confident. Even though I have a broader range of classes this year, like Grade 1, or Grade 4, I’m not scared. I can think about the activities I need to use, and I know what reactions to expect. I am a more sophisticated teacher now.
- What advice would you give to someone else starting out in their teaching career?
You need to have a very clear career plan. You need to have the confidence to ask questions, as you will find most other teachers are very happy to help. Most importantly, don’t wait for someone to push you. You need to push yourself.