Christopher Perkins joined Bangkok Patana School in August 2021 as a Year 2 teacher bringing with him vast experience and international perspectives. He originally hails from Australia but moved to the UK after graduating from university. He lived and worked in London for almost 20 years after which he made the move to international teaching.
The very first opportunity I ever had to travel was whilst I was still at university completing my teacher training. I was extremely fortunate as my university offered the chance to complete a teacher training placement, combined with study tour of Thailand, at a local school in Khon Kaen. After four weeks of touring Thailand, the three-week teaching placement was to begin. I still very clearly remember walking in to the classroom as a fledgling teacher and being on show to dozens of eager, young eyes. It was an incredible experience that I will always remember and is what has made returning to Thailand very special indeed. Thailand has held a special place in my heart ever since.”
After graduating, Christopher made the move to the United Kingdom where he worked for almost twenty years. He enjoyed several curriculum leadership roles in a range of state schools in inner-city London. After working in the UK education system for some time, he decided that he wanted something new and fresh that gave him an exciting challenge. “I took the step into international teaching and my first experience was working in Yangon, Myanmar. Yangon was quite an experience. As a country that was just opening up to the international community and to international education, it was certainly a place where things were developing right from the very foundations. Working in a small start-up school meant enrolment was low, but there was a very strong sense of community that came from having such small numbers. Every teacher knew every child and parent and this made for a very strong sense of community – a very special experience. In fact, Yangon remains one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had so far in my teaching career.”
After four years in Yangon, he then moved to Shanghai, China where he stayed for two years. He then made the move to Bangkok. “I was drawn to Bangkok Patana in particular, as it really is one of the most renowned and established schools in Asia and well-known, not only for its quality education, but also its wide range of sports, music and arts.”
“My experience of the school so far has been overwhelmingly positive. From supportive, helpful staff to over-excited, friendly and polite students, all has been great. I have been impressed by the wealth of resources and facilities and the quality of what is on offer to students. The campus is impressive and expansive, so much so that I have yet to explore all of what Bangkok Patana has to offer.”
“One thing that I think works particularly well as a teacher is making those personal connections with the children. Tapping in to the personal interests of the children and making the learning as personalised as possible is what children will connect with. When leaving Shanghai, my class made me a card which read… ‘thanks for making the learning so much fun and for letting us do all the fun things, not all the boring things.’ It really is so important to make learning meaningful and contextualised for the children. This is what makes things meaningful and helps them to engage and maintain interest.”
“Since starting work at Patana, I have joined a couple of clubs including the running club which has been great fun. I also enjoy cycling and am keen to get involved with Patana’s very healthy riding club. I also enjoy some cooking and when I have time off on the holidays I really like to cook. I love Asian food and especially the vibrant Thai flavours.
When working in Shanghai, Christopher also enjoyed a range of community work, some of it at the school and some working in the local community. He also volunteered for a range of environmental organisations and is keen to get involved with community work once things open up again here.
“On a recent visit to Australia, I walked across the top arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I spent two hours training and doing the safety checks, then I spent another few hours doing the Bridge Climb. Despite being up pretty high (134 meters above water) it was a great experience that I would definitely recommend. Put the fears of height out of your mind, and focus on enjoying the moment!”