For each newsletter, we will interview a BSB Teacher so that parents and students can get to know interesting facts about our teachers. This month we interviewed Mr. Chris Planchant, our Secondary Humanities Teacher who specialises in Geography and is also our Head of Year 12 & 13.
1. What brings you to BSB Shunyi?
I am always interested in the Far East and being a Geography teacher, I had always wanted to travel to a country with such a different, rich and diverse culture. Geographically, China has so much to offer from the northern grasslands, to the lowland coastal plains and towering snow peak mountains in the south east. In addition, my wife and I were keen for a new challenge and I had always harboured an ambition to work in an International school. The challenge of working with students and teachers from diverse backgrounds was exciting and teaching the IBDP was something I wanted to experience and become good at.
When we first came out to China in 2017 my children were very young, my son was 2 and daughter 4. We felt that we were giving them an opportunity that we never had, and many other children might never have - too good to pass up.
2. Please describe your role and responsibilities at BSB.
At school, primarily I am a Humanities teacher who specialises in Geography. I teach Key stage 3 History which I enjoy very much because I think our curriculum at BSB is particularly varied and interesting. In Geography, I teach through all secondary ages from Year 7 through to Year 13.
When I first arrived at the school I was the sole Geographer and therefore took on the role of developing the new IBDP curriculum. The course is now well established, successful and something I am very proud of. I know I’m biased but, I do feel very passionate about my subject and as US politician Judy Matz once said, “Everything has to do with Geography”. In a world that is continually changing climatically, politically, socially and economically geography encapsulates more and more of us, who we are and what we may become. Who wouldn’t want to study it?
I also hold the pastoral role of Head of Year 12 and 13. This role keeps me very busy. It also enables me to work closely with colleagues, ensure the welfare of our students and have influence over their attainment whilst they study at BSB. I enjoy forging relationships with students and parents and endeavor to do this with a smile on my face.
3. What kind of support is BSB providing for our Year 12 & 13 IB Diploma students?
BSB is the most supportive school I have ever worked at when it comes to student welfare and helping students fulfil their potential. Pastorally, I work with a fantastic tutor team that go the extra mile when it comes to looking after each and every one of their tutor group. The pastoral system ensures that students are cared for whilst in school; encouraged to always try their best and rewarded for their efforts. We also maintain high standards that I know parents and staff are particularly proud of.
4. What's "A Day in the Life at BSB" for you?
Well, I’ll be honest here. No two days are ever the same so, I’ll give you an average day. I cycle in to school and arrive around 7.10 in the morning. This gives me ample opportunity to check and send emails to colleagues and students whilst having a rather large coffee! I then aim to get around to some of the form groups to see the students and tutors. When form time is over, my teaching day begins. Lessons are normally fun and I always try to make them as interesting as possible and teach with a smile on my face. Teaching is a ‘people’ profession and to be a good teacher you need to show your personality so that the students engage, this has always been my mantra. After school may involve meetings, ASA’s, academic support or marking.
5. What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I guess I have already alluded to this. The variation is important but watching children grow into young adults, develop new skills and mature in to ‘exceptional’ young people is very satisfying. Particularly pleasing for me is seeing our students achieve or exceed their goals and obtain outstanding exam results and go on to study Geography at higher education at some of the best universities in the world.