JNFLS IC is a public senior high school in Jinan, Shandong, PRC that prepares students in grades 10-12 for life at universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. We utilized the College Board Advanced Placement curriculum and Cambridge International Exam A-Level courses while also supporting the students’ completion of the Chinese National Curriculum courses.
This was my third overseas assignment as an educator and it never fails to amaze me the portability of a teaching credential; teaching credentials have the ability to open up a variety of opportunities if their holders are just willing to look beyond the borders of their own mind.
That being said, my guess is that it would be improbable to give public school educators a sabbatical (say around year ten of their career), but I feel it would greatly improve their understanding of our own educational system, and open their professional practices to new skills. My time in Jinan most certainly did.
There are four things that JNFLS IC brought out in my leadership skills:
- Effective communication has its basis in listening and as a manager of a larger staff (that shares a variety of different cultures) listening was magnified ten fold. Helping others make sense of instructional approaches based in western psychology can take repeated attempts and requires a variety instructional strategies. It was a challenge to be an effective communicator and stay on track with our time-lines.
- The ability to train individuals from a variety of cultures in a consistent approach to designing lessons, and evaluating their outcomes.
- My ability to shape the five variables of the complex change model supported the communication necessary to bridge the cultural context and help our staff implement improvements almost seamlessly.
- Within international schools staff relationships are more than good teaching teams, it is about fostering good social opportunities as well.