Principal of Japanese International School sits down with Rebecca Simpson.
What are some of the challenges being a principal at JIS?
In a multi-cultural, multi ethnic, multi-lingual environment, the challenge is to find the best option for the students and their learning. One that is accepted by the school community as a whole and can be developed for the benefit of all students. We are putting together the pieces of a very complex jigsaw puzzle.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The people and the relationships that are developed between the students, community and the school. Supporting the children in their learning and personal development is also very important to me. As a school we have a deep rooted passion for our curriculum and we spend many hours developing and improving it. The four key values of our school explain a lot about my passion for my job: Our people, our curriculum, our diversity and our relationships.
What has been the most memorable event in your career?
It is almost impossible to say as there have been so many positives over the years. My transition from England to Hong Kong must rate as the best decision I have ever made. I have been able to have such a rich and varied career in education in Hong Kong.
Did you always want to work in education?
No, I did not particularly enjoy being at school so it was not an obvious choice at all. At university in the U.K. I found that my focus shifted towards primary education and I began to see it as a positive choice and followed it through.
What do you like most about Hong Kong?
Pretty much all of it! The contrasts, the drive, the scenery, the places, the options and the energy of the city and its people. I was born in Hong Kong, so have a strong natural affinity to it all, which has empowered me to explore a lot of the city and its wider environment.
Do you have any hobbies?
I like exploring the hills and hidden valleys of Hong Kong through hiking and running. I also enjoy travelling and have been lucky to have explored a lot of this wonderful planet.
What’s the best advice you were given by a teacher?
Whilst on teaching practice as a student I was advised to ‘keep smiling whatever happens’ – however naive this may seem, it really does help and I try to do it a lot.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
With family and in the hills of Hong Kong, enjoying this magnificent city that I call home.
What qualities do you value most in people?
Being positive, having the vision and commitment to improve and do great things together, wanting to help and support others.
Tell us a secret about yourself.
I really enjoy dragon boat racing and I have been involved in different teams for many years. We now have a social team through the JIS staff, which is great fun and a fabulous way to get to know your colleagues.