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Mary's Story - International Teaching in Vietnam

Mary's Story - Becoming an International Teacher in Vietnam

If you are excited at the possibility of doing meaningful work in an exciting new destination, all the while making incredible new friends and learning about new cultures, international teaching in Vietnam could be for you. To give you a better idea of what international teaching is like here at the British International School, Ho Chi Minh City (BIS HCMC) we speak to Ms Mary McAloon, Deputy Head Teacher at BIS HCMC, Early Years and Infant Campus on her personal experience of teaching abroad.

Mary's Story - International Teaching in Vietnam

Describe your journey as a teacher so far…

Beginning my career at Sheffield Hallam University in England was one of the best moves I have made in my life. Completing a Primary Education degree with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) enabled me to accept a position as class teacher of a Year One class with 5 to 6-year-old children in a small village school close to my home town of Solihull, England. 

Two years passed and I soon realised the opportunities within the International Educational sector, so I took a role as class teacher of Reception with 4 to 5 year olds in South Korea.  During the next 10 years I developed my career in stages starting from class teacher and finishing as the Head of the Early Years Centre and in addition, completed my Master of Education in Leadership and Management.  My experience together with the qualification I earned, led me to where I am today; Deputy Head Teacher of the British International School’s Early Years and Infant Campus.  A thoroughly rewarding position.

What are the specific qualifications for teaching Early Years Foundation Stage at BIS HCMC?

Teachers must hold a teaching degree with Qualified Teacher Status from the UK or equivalent.  Before arriving at BIS, a teacher must have 3 years’ teaching experience in a primary school; preferably some of those years within an early years or infant setting (children of ages 2 to 7).

Describe the teaching in EYFS at BIS HCMC…

As you walk through an Early Years environment you see children enthused, engaged and positive about learning.  Early Years at BIS follows the child’s interests, which inevitably means the practical resources and activities change on a regular basis, often daily.

Experiential Learning is key to an Early Years setting where children are exposed to a variety of media and materials to allow them to develop in all aspects of learning. Children at the Early Years and Infant campus learn by playing and exploring, being active and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outdoors.

How does the teaching at BIS differ from other international schools?

BIS HCMC was the first school in Vietnam to be British government inspected and approved.  The most recent BSO inspection stated that our Early Years teachers “encourage pupils to apply intellectual, physical and creative effort, to show interest in their work, and to think and learn for themselves”.  BIS HCMC is an outstanding school where the highest standards are expected of the teaching body and support staff.  BIS HCMC provides not only a great place for students to learn, but also a friendly and valuable community for parents and an outstanding school for teachers to practise their passion in teaching.

Mary's Story - International Teaching in Vietnam

BIS HCMC provides not only a great place for students to learn, but also a friendly and valuable community for parents and an outstanding school for teachers to practise their passion in teaching. Ms Mary McAloon

How does BIS facilitate the professional development of its teachers?

Being a Nord Anglia Education school our teachers have access to a wide range of professional learning resources.  Nord Anglia Education has its very own Nord Anglia University (NAU).  NAU provides a place for professional discussions to occur across the globe with our 55 sister schools and hosts many different types of courses throughout the year.  One particularly valuable professional learning opportunity that NAU offers our teachers is the Masters in Education programme run by the university Kings College, London. 

In addition, BIS is a member of the FOBISIA group which provides a plethora of opportunities to network and develop as a professional with other British schools in South East Asia. 

Find out more about the professional development opportunities here at BIS HCMC.

What would you say are the key attributes to becoming a successful international school teacher?

Being creative, agile, open-minded and flexible are key to being a successful and outstanding international school teacher.  Working with children, teachers and parents from around the world, along with fantastic colleagues from your host country, is a rewarding and fulfilling experience.  Understanding others’ cultures and perspectives will ensure you develop and achieve as an international school teacher.

Mrs Mary McAloon, Deputy Head Teacher, Early Years and Infant Campus

Interested in international teaching at BIS HCMC? Visit our recruitment page for more details.

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