Beijing - Barbara Albury

Librarian Barbara Albury discusses working in the brand new Keystone Academy, Beijing

Many new international schools are opening each year. Some are brand new schools. Others are national schools that are opening an international campus, or converting entirely to an international school. With so many new opportunities for qualified teachers, there’s never been a better time to find a job in an international school.

Some teachers worry about joining a brand new international school compared to one that has been running for years. TIC will advise you of new schools that have recognised leadership and a rigorous development plan in place to give you the reassurance you need. Here’s what it’s like working in a brand new international school from the perspective of a school librarian. Barbara Albury is a skilled school librarian from Boston, in the United States. Her first international school experience was in the Bahamas. She now works as the English primary librarian at the new Keystone Academy, a bilingual school which opened in Beijing in September 2014. Here Barbara talks about her experience of working in a brand new international school in China:

“Some people might be hesitant to join a school in its early stages, but I was thrilled at the idea of being part of a new beginning. I wanted to live and work in Asia for some time, so the news that I’d been offered a position at Keystone Academy in Beijing was extremely exciting. I learned about the school through TIC Recruitment and other sources and was impressed. The leadership team is strong and I admire the school’s vision – it draws on a blend of Eastern, Western and international education styles.

The benefits of being involved in a new school opening far outweigh the negatives. A real bonus for me is that I can establish the layout, design and features of the new primary library. The school also has some excellent opportunities for personal development. Recently they funded my trip to a librarian’s conference in Hong Kong where I met 58 other librarians working in South East Asia. I learned new skills on how to improve visual note taking and the conference provided a great networking opportunity.

I live on campus in the Shunyi district with most of the expat staff as well as Chinese staff and their families. The residence housing is amazing, spacious and we have access to many sports facilities. There are lots of social activities organised both in school and off campus – it’s easy to make friends here!

I have a two year contract at Keystone Academy. I may possibly stay for a third year – time will tell. My future plans are to retire, although I don’t think I’ll ever really ‘retire’ as such. After finishing my teaching career, I wish to volunteer at orphanages in Thailand and then in Ecuador. I’m looking forward to the rest of my time in China and, as a result, to better understand the amazing culture, people and their ways of life.”

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