Name: Sophie Corr
Country of Residence: China
Country of Origin: UK
Subject: Early Years Foundation Stage
Year Group: Toddler
Places Lived: London, Beijing & Guangzhou.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
There is quite a big age gap between my two younger siblings and me so, growing up with two parents who were often at work, I looked after them quite a bit. We enjoyed spending time together and the older I became, the more I seemed to be drawn towards discovering about early childhood development in greater depth and what really ignites a young child’s learning or growth. After leaving full-time education in the UK, I trained as a Nursery Nurse for two years and then went on to qualify as a Montessori teacher working in an international school. This gave me a glimpse into the larger world of teaching but I felt my true interest was in the English National Curriculum, so after gaining valuable TESOL qualifications and experience, I studied for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education through Buckingham University and jumped at the chance of teaching overseas when it came.
What do you enjoy most about teaching toddlers?
I love seeing them happy and all our children develop so so fast! After spending pretty much all of their lives at home, it’s a big move for a 1 or 2 year old to join a new environment, especially in a school setting with so many other children around. After a few weeks assimilating, each child is full of smiles and they really enjoy coming to school to see friends and of course us, their teachers. We watch students learn their first words, take their first steps and sing their first songs. Everyday we see new ‘little people’ become more confident as they grow and those little happy faces or hugging arms are more rewarding than any teacher could ask for.
What do you do when you get homesick?
My family and myself have lived in China for so many years now that I really don’t get homesick or miss too much from the UK. Taobao is a consumer trap but one I am happy to fall into as it allows me to acquire many of the small things from the UK that I enjoy; simple things like Robinson’s squash or pickled onion Monster Munch crisps can really make a difference to a London girl like me! Guangzhou is also such a diverse and modern city that it too offers much of what is available in the UK and an awful lot more in many cases. It would be nice to see my family and old friends living in the UK more often but with direct flights and good holidays available to me as a teacher, the world seems to be becoming smaller and smaller each year. We really are one of those British families who feel a little out of place in the UK and look forward to getting back ‘home’ to Guangzhou when we travel.
How do you relax and spend time with your family in Guangzhou?
We do lots of things as a family. Cinema, shopping, sports and restaurants would certainly be up there but our biggest love is probably exploring the Guangdong countryside. Mao Feng Shan is so close and such a lovely place to experience. We often take our dog for walks and the kids enjoy picnics, strawberry picking or just playing around in rivers and the greenery we find. Delicious roasted ribs, fire chicken and green vegetables picked directly from the ground are also never too far away, which always helps! Some of the places we visit even have hammocks where you can relax and read a book or just have a snooze in the warm afternoon sun. The many hot spring resorts that can be found in and around the Conghua area are also a particular favourite of ours. Spending a few hours driving north of the city brings the reward of stunning mountains, cleaner air and some of the most beautiful scenery you can image. The GZ Opera House and Canton Tower are great places to see but I’d advise anyone visiting China to not forget how beautiful and diverse the countryside can be.
Why do you like teaching at BSG?
The team that I work with are colleagues but also friends and I love this family feel. I come to school happy and generally leave feeling grateful each day. Not only am I rewarded by the smiles of fabulous children but I have had time with people I learn from each day and genuinely enjoy being around. Not a bad way to spend your time from Monday to Friday, eh. I have also really embraced the school’s core values. They sum up how I feel we should all treat each other and I really love that my children are going to a school where these values are taught each day through some of the best teachers I have ever had the pleasure to know.