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Staff Profiles: Joanna (Jo) West

Joanna

Reception Class Teacher and Team Leader

I completed a BA Hons in Sociology at Exeter University and then continued on to a PGCE at Bath Spa University specialising in Early Years. Before getting a full-time teaching job I worked in many schools and year groups as a supply teacher in Devon. My first full-time position was as a Nursery teacher in south London. I then went on to teach Reception for several years back in Devon again.

My husband and I have always enjoyed travelling and from the time we first qualified we began looking into teaching overseas. We chose Thailand as it was somewhere we had travelled to before and loved. I came to teach at St. Andrews in 2006 as a Year 1 teacher when there were only around 400 students in the school. As the years have passed I have moved between Year 1 and 2 and have been team leader in both year groups. I have sometimes thought of moving to a different school or country, but it would be very difficult to leave St. Andrews as it is such a lovely place to work, where the students and teachers are so valued and appreciated.

I am a mum to 2 daughters who were both born in Thailand and so this has increased my bond to the country even more. My husband is also a music teacher here which makes life very convenient for us. Travel has always been a huge passion of ours, which is part of the reason we came to Thailand. I have loved having the opportunity to explore this part of the world and have been to places I never would have gone to from the UK. I also enjoy cooking, scuba diving and have recently started Muay Thai classes to keep fit.

St. Andrews is a great place to work and this is the main reason so many staff stay for many years. Even though the school has doubled in size since I first started it has retained its close family feel, where the children’s happiness is at the forefront. I have loved seeing my first class move into the High School, and walking around the school I still see many faces of children I have taught. The school’s inclusive policy means that all children are valued and supported where possible, regardless of their academic ability, which gives the students a more realistic view of life. They are able to mix with people from many countries and cultures and this can only lead to a wider, more accepting perspective. The main resource that strengthens St. Andrews is its teaching staff and assistants who are all committed to a common goal – ensuring each individual child reaches their full potential.

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