Southeast Asia

Jean teaches in Southeast Asia

Tell us a bit about yourself, how and where you grew up, and where you went to school
What made you decide to become a teacher?
I am the oldest of four children.  My parents told us to either be a nurse, a doctor, a lawyer, or a teacher!!!!  I chose teaching!
How did you first hear about opportunities at NICS?
My first trip to Southeast Asia was the summer of 2001 to an orphanage.  I was on an exploration trip in a different city in May of 2002 and visited my school and interviewed with the headmaster.
Did you speak any languages beyond English?
No other languages at that time.
What did your family say when you told them you were teaching in another country?
They totally understood.... my kids never said "don't go". At that time I was caring for my elderly father, and I did say I would not move until he died.  He died April 1, 2002, and I landed in Southeast Asia on April 1, 2003!!!
What was the biggest barrier keeping you from signing on as a NICS Teacher?
Really NO barrier... once my dad died, the doors opened!!!! I came with another company, One Challenge International and taught at my school.  In 2007 I dropped the OCI connection and joined NICS.
Did your family encourage you to go? If so what was the most encouraging thing they did?
My family has been a huge support. My two kids and their families have been here... twice!!!
What was your biggest fear when you first landed in your new country?
Concerns about the language... everyone said it was so HARD.
What was your favorite experience living in a new country?
Everyday has been fun... talking to people... bike riding... wonderful food... sharing the FATHER with people...
What is the funniest thing that happened to you as you acclimated to a new culture?
I took sailing lessons the first summer here... walking my bike back to the road, I had an accident... bike and me fell in the lake!!!! Rode home wet and showered!!!
Tell us your favorite story from teaching at your NICS school.
One of my students told her mother "Mrs. Bannen has eyes in the back of her head... but I cannot find them!"
What makes teaching at NICS so special?
The children and their families... the excellence that happens... sharing HIS love...
How did your experience with NICS help you grow as a teacher?
I have learned so many different cultural things... become much more patient... become more open to new ideas and ways of doing things...
What would you tell someone considering becoming a NICS teacher?
Go for it!!!!  It will change your life.
What is the one thing a new teacher should pack for their trip?
Any special meds that are needed.
What is your best advice for getting used to a new culture/climate?
Try everything... be flexible... be willing to make mistakes.
What final words of encouragement do you have for someone considering a job with NICS?
Explore the options... ask questions... take the risk... it is a joy to be a part of NICS.

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