Kiki Tao spent three formative years at SCIS. During her time with us, Kiki has been an invaluable member of our community, working first in Purchasing and then as a lower school Teaching Assistant. She is now taking a new professional challenge as a lead teacher at a local Kindergarten, fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.
Welcome to Once, Always, a series celebrating the wonderful stories from former students, parents, and staff that all share something in common - their time at SCIS. #OnceADragonAlwaysADragon
How did you get into education?
I've wanted to become a teacher ever since I can remember. When I was a child playing role-playing, my favorite role was the teacher! However, going into university, I wasn't entirely sure what major to choose. At the time I chose to study labor and social security, so my employment path should have been in Human Resources or as a social worker. But I quickly found out that I didn't like these professions. I asked myself what I wanted to do in the future. After thinking about it, I strongly felt that I wanted to fulfill my childhood dream and so I decided to enter the education industry.
And what about SCIS?
There was a bit of luck involved with me joining SCIS. For starters, my high school is actually in front of the SCIS Pudong campus. When I was a sophomore in high school, I watched the campus being built. I was always very curious about what the inside of the school looked like.
A few years ago, I decided to change my job, and so sent my resume to SCIS. I received a reply from Human Resources for a position working in the Purchasing department. After a successful interview, I was offered a job and began working at SCIS.
One day I remember having a conversation with a colleague about becoming a teacher. The conversation motivated me to pursue an opportunity to become a teacher. So that very day, I wrote a letter to Mr. Luebbe, the Head of School at the time, explaining to him my ambition and that I had previous teaching experiences. He recommended me to Mrs. Gale and, after a successful interview, I was fortunate enough to be offered a Teaching Assistant position!
That's incredible. How would you describe your time at SCIS?
Very fulfilling! I think I can say what I want to say, ask what I want to ask, and learn what I want to learn in SCIS.
In the first year, I was a floater. So, I came into contact with many classes and children in Early Childhood Education (ECE). I updated a lot of my ideas and learned a lot of practical education methods. Later, because I felt very happy working in ECE, I wanted to continue to go in that direction and keep growing professionally. So I applied for a master's degree in an Australian university and wanted to continue my research and study of education. Unfortunately, the covid-19 pandemic came and broke my plan. I wasn't able to go abroad to study, but SCIS understood my situation and was willing to let me go back to work. So I am very grateful to SCIS.
All my colleagues were kind and helpful throughout my three years.
Did you ever consider another possible career path?
I tried a lot of jobs before entering the education industry. After I entered the education industry, I discovered that this was my destined career. So I hope I can go all the way in the education industry.
Sometimes, my determination to keep on being a teacher has been shaken. It's tiring work and many people do not understand the meaning of this job. But, I once read a book called "Miss Rumphius" and in it, this story says that you should do something to make the world a better place. I think to make the world a better place is to bring good education to children and let them grow up with love and happiness. And getting along with children is a very interesting thing, I love being in their company. And I found that if I share my passion and love with children I can see stars shine in their eyes for a long time!
What is your favorite thing about being a teaching assistant?
I think my favorite thing is to play alongside children and to discuss with other teachers the growth and progress of the child we have observed.
What will you miss most about SCIS?
What I miss most are my colleagues and children in SCIS. Everyone in this school is like family to me. I am very grateful to them for the farewell party they hosted on my last day.
What’s next for you?
I have accepted a teaching position at a public kindergarten, here in Shanghai. I hope I can bring the knowledge I learned at SCIS to Chinese children. I also plan to study for a master's degree in education later.
We wish you the best of luck Kiki on your next educational adventure!
- once, always