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Primary Teaching Staff Leaving us this Year

It is always difficult to say goodbye to teachers and this year we say goodbye to 16 fabulous teachers across both our primary campuses.

While we are sad to say farewell we are also excited for them to embark on their next adventures. 

The world is a much smaller place now and there are so many more options to keep in touch. With  Whats App, Social Media and cheaper travel options, it makes keeping in touch much easier than ever before.  I remember waiting for ‘snail mail’ (letters!) to arrive and being so excited to hear from home when I first started on my International journey over 20 years ago.

Below, we hear from each of our teachers that are leaving who share where they are going and what their next adventure involves. We wish them all the very best. We will miss you all but look forward to hearing from you on this next adventure!

Ms Patricia Thomas, F2 Class Teacher


Goodbye to everyone!

I am off to Cambodia to teach in a small school and work with Mekong Quilts, to help develop their shop in Phnom Penh.

Things I will miss about BIS; the children and their parents, all of my wonderful colleagues, a big thank you to all. I have so many fantastic memories and wonderful experiences in this truly amazing country.

I am looking forward to new challenges, making new friends and having more marvellous experiences in Cambodia. Thanks a million to you all.

Ms Patricia

Ms Clarissa Poolton, F2 Class Teacher


I will be based in Devon, England and I will be working at a hospital nursery as a Deputy Manager.

I will miss all the excitement that Saigon brings. It is a rapidly growing city and there is always something new going around. I will miss the BIS community and how everyone is friendly and supportive to each other. I will also miss the long school holidays we have here!

I am really excited to learn from my new role and I am also looking forward to travelling more around the UK and Europe.

Ms Clarissa

Ms Holly Pugliese, F3 Class Teacher


We are very excited to be moving to Hoi An, where we will teach at a small International School. 

I will miss my supportive colleagues as well as the whole community of parents and children here at BIS. I'll also miss my friends here in Ho Chi Minh, but I'm sure I'll get lots of visitors at the weekends! 

We cannot wait for less pollution, the beach and more nature nearby. Looking forward to discovering new food, travel destinations and making new friends. 

Thank you BIS for all your support over the past 5 years!

Ms Holly

Mr Steve Jennins, LS Leader


I’m looking forward to writing more children’s books, I plan to make some educational apps, and also hope to continue helping parents with their children’s learning and behaviour at home.

I will miss BIS so much, especially the students! I feel blessed to have worked with so many funny kids and they’ve made me smile every day.

My next destination is a sensory deprivation tank!

Mr Steve

Mr Chris Rolls, EAL Leader


After 10 wonderful years in Vietnam, it’s time for my wife and I to head home and spend some quality time with family and friends; especially our parents, because parents are special! 

I will miss the positive energy, the team spirit and the kindness that runs through the whole BIS community. Our students are the stars of the show and every day they brighten up our lives with their zest for learning! Vietnam is a home from home for me. The people, the food, the landscape, the sunshine, the community spirit, the energy of Saigon life – Vietnam ơi: cảm ơn nhiều!

I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my home culture, family and friends. It’s been a while!

Mr Chris

Ms Samantha Baker, Y1 Class Teacher


I am leaving BIS and Vietnam after 6 years and will be moving to Lithuania. I will be teaching First Grade at the American International School of Vilnius.

I will miss all the wonderful people, places, and food in Vietnam, especially chuoi nuong and cha cuon. After I leave BIS, I will miss all my incredible students and colleagues that I’ve had the pleasure to work with over the past 6 years. I will probably daydream about the Global Café for years to come!

I’m really looking forward to my new adventures in Lithuania! It will be a big change, moving to Europe from Vietnam. I think I’m most excited to experience different seasons again, even winter!

Ms Samantha

Mr Andy West, Y1 Class Teacher


I will be returning to the UK to be closer to friends and family. I hope to secure a job in a school close to where I will be living.

I will most certainly miss the wonderful children of BIS that I have been lucky enough to teach, work with or talk to during playtimes and clubs over the last 4 years. They have made me smile and laugh so many times I can’t remember! The parents have always been so kind, friendly and supportive so I will also miss that. I couldn’t have done my job successfully without the help from the outstanding Teaching Assistants that I have been lucky enough to have worked with. They have gone above and beyond for me and have always offered their help and support. They will truly be missed.

Vietnam has given me so many amazing memories to take with me. The people, the food, the experiences…. The list is too long to write them all! Thank you Vietnam.

I am looking forward to playing football in a cooler climate. Seeing my friends and family and being on a time-zone that makes it easier to communicate with them too!

Mr Andy

Ms Naomi Skinner, Y2 Class Teacher


I am leaving BIS to begin my NamRunsNam challenge, running 2200km from Hanoi to HCMC, to raise funds for children’s education and health care.

There are so many things I will miss about BIS, mainly the support of my amazing work friends and the fun loving attitude of the children.

I am looking forward to waking up in my hammock to watch the sunrise over deserted beaches!

Ms Naomi

Ms Emma Spencer, Y2 Class Teacher


I am looking forward to travelling overland through Mexico and Central America, which is a long held dream of mine. I’m looking forward to practising my Spanish, seeing lots of breath taking sights, eating wonderful food and diving in some amazing places.

I’ve loved my time at BIS. I’ve worked across all of the primary campuses, including BVIS and every single one of them was special. The children are wonderful as they have such interesting stories to tell and such a hunger to learn. I’ve made so many incredible friends here and had so many wonderfully experiences. I am endlessly grateful.

I love Vietnam and I will miss living here. I love the kindness and sense of fun people have, all of the amazing things to eat and the fact that almost every day when riding round on my motorbike I see something crazy or funny. Saigon has taught me that anything is possible!

Ms Emma

Ms Paula Phipps, Y3 Class Teacher


Sadly, it is goodbye to BIS and Vietnam. They have been good to me for the last 6 years. I have loved living in Asia for the last 12 years. It is now time for me to return back home to the UK.

I will miss so many things. The things that most spring to mind are the gentleness and warmth of the people here, the chaos of the motorbikes, banh xeo and the blue skies, well most of the time. Even more than those things though, will be the children of BIS. I have loved seeing how much they support each other and rejoice in each other’s achievements. I will miss the support and care shown by all my colleagues. I feel lucky to have worked within such a caring community.

What’s next for me? Firstly, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and friends. This year, I became a grandmother. I have an adorable granddaughter called Ophelia, now 7 months. I want to be able to see her grow and change and I want to be Nanna Paula. My parents are ageing. Fortunately, they are in good health still and I want to make the most of that before my time with them becomes caring.

I am excited to be realising a long-held dream. I have always loved the canals and waterways of England and have wanted a narrowboat for almost as many years as I can remember, so one of my first tasks will be to purchase a boat. I will enjoy the peace, tranquility and wildlife. After that, I don’t know yet. What I do know is that I will always have very fond memories of my time in Vietnam.

I wish you all tremendous happiness and success.

Ms Paula

Mr Rob Sesemann, Y3 Class Teacher


I’m heading back to London to spend time with my family and friends during the summer break. I will be taking on work as a supply teacher while I find a nice school and area I would like to settle in for the next few years in South London. I’m going to miss the culture, food and children that I have taught over my three years at BIS. The children’s friendliness and desire to learn has been something I’ve been so happy to be a part of. As well as being with family and friends, I look forward to running in grassy parks and relaxing with my cats in the garden.

Mr Rob

Ms Gemma Hobbs, Y4 Class Teacher


I will be leaving BIS after six wonderful years in Vietnam to work at The British International School in Budapest. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with our truly inspirational children and lovely staff. BIS is such a special place to work in so I will take so many happy memories with me. I have particularly enjoyed International Week and our Long Hai residential. I will miss so many things about Vietnam but especially the fascinating aspects of Vietnamese culture such as Moon Festival and Tet celebrations, the delicious food and the pretty lanterns along the river in Hoi An. I am looking forward to running along the Danube in Budapest, hiking in the hills, the snowy winters, Christmas markets and generally exploring this vibrant city.

Ms Gemma

Ms Alicia West, Y4 Class Teacher


I have absolutely adored living in Vietnam and working for BIS; it has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for me. There are so many things that I will miss about BIS and Vietnam in general. I will miss the strong feeling of community, working with adults and children from all over the world, experiencing the Vietnamese culture (and food!) and also the weather! I am returning to England with Mr Andy to be close to our family and friends. We have been living in Vietnam for four years now and so feel the time is right to move on and reconnect with our home country. I have a new job in a junior school just outside of Portsmouth (my home town) where I will have a new role as a year leader and continue to be English leader. I am looking forward to spending time with family and friends, experiencing the seasons, a new challenge in my career and bringing what I have learnt from living in Vietnam to the community in Portsmouth. I am so glad I had the opportunity to work at such an amazing school and I will miss it very much!  

Ms Lissy

Mr Matt Payne, Y6 Class Teacher


I will be going back to London to work in a small Primary school. I will miss the curious, easy-going, smiley people, the amazing opportunities to travel in Vietnam.

About BIS, I will miss the community and the amazing children I’ve worked with. I am looking forward to finding a new place to live, seeing old faces and re-establishing myself at home.

Mr Matt

Ms Pauline Tran, EAL Teacher


I’ll still be living in HCMC and will be volunteering with an Australian non-profit organisation, VN Smiles, in August. This organisation provides dental care to underprivileged children in poor regions across Vietnam. I’m excited and nervous as this will be my first mission trip and the first step towards my goal of working in the dentistry field! The mission trip will take place with more than 40 volunteers and dentists in Lam Dong and Dak Lak province. All donations are warmly received and will go towards sterile dental equipment and vaccinations: https://www.vnsmiles.com.au/donate.html.

I’ll always remember all the funny times with my EAL students and how much they made me laugh during our EAL lessons. I’m also very appreciative of the experience and knowledge I gained from working with the teachers and teaching assistants at BIS.

Not only am I looking forward to working with dentists and other volunteers, I’m also excited about exploring new provinces in Vietnam whilst getting to know the children and their families. I hope to discover more about my Vietnamese culture through these experiences as well as improve my Vietnamese!

Ms Pauline

Ms Grace Geng Li, MFL Teacher


I am going to Penang (Malaysia).  I will still be Primary Mandarin Teacher.

I feel so lucky and grateful to be a part of BIS. What I will miss most of all will be all of my students and colleagues from BIS.

I will work at a brand new campus close to the beach, I am looking forward to seeing the sea every morning from my balcony.

Ms Grace

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