David Cairns is an English teacher at The British School of Beijing (Shunyi campus). The UK native is a relative newcomer to Beijing, having only lived here for five months. Cairns lets us in in on more about himself.
What brought you to Beijing?
Personally, I had wanted to experience teaching on a global stage for as long as I can remember. Teaching in England, in my opinion, has become less about the development of children and more of a race for instantaneous success and adulation. Teaching internationally, I hope, will bring about a different challenge: creating the leaders of tomorrow. I also feel that it will broaden my outlook upon life, both culturally and mentally.
What’s was your favorite subject when you were a student?
As an English teacher, I am obliged to say English; however I sought great enjoyment from Media, Drama and Graphic design too. I feel that each of these subjects encompassed my passion for creativity. The idea of creation is something which impacts upon my teaching now, I feel.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? What other career options did you explore before teaching?
Before entering the teaching profession, I used to work in, and briefly manage, bars. Also, I owned a relatively productive DJ company; providing entertainment for nightclubs, hotels and private functions. Music still plays a big part in my life.
How would your students describe your teaching style?
The students, when asked, described me as “a passionate teacher who doesn’t judge. A risk taker; someone who has the best intentions for each student he encounters.”
What was your favorite book growing up? What are you currently reading?
My favorite book, growing up, was Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Personally, I consider it to still be a novel which can offer guidance around morality. I am currently reading H.P Lovecraft’s novel, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. The most recent novel I read was The Giver.
How do you like to relax on the weekends?
I have recently started to attend the gym; it is quite addictive. If I’m not at the gym I will be either playing or watching football – sporting my Sunderland Football Club shirt.
Where do you like to go on holiday?I feel there are so many beautiful places in the United Kingdom and I have so many fond memories of the West Coast of Scotland; that said you cannot beat a sunshine holiday: Koh Samed or Phi Phi Island are places I intend to revisit.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I love to sing: KTV – watch out!
What’s currently on your playlist?
I cannot get enough of the music from Sam Smith and Disclosure. I think both, along with the likes of Ben Howard, Bastille, Emeli Sande and Labrinth could help propel the English music scene onto the world map again. My iPod is quite eclectic, however. It is littered with bands such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who and Elbow.
What’s do you find most rewarding about teaching?
I have had this discussion with many friends recently. For me, I cannot think of another job where you enhance the lives of so many young people. The development of young minds is something that inspires me greatly. From presenting myself in a smart, professional manner to offering pastoral advice – this job is second to none. It does have its pitfalls: marking and meetings often come in the way of planning outstanding lessons. Although the workload and hours can be unsociable, it is still the most exciting job I could imagine.
Meet the Teacher is a new beijingkids blog series designed to help the Beijing community learn more about international school teachers. If your school would like to participate in the series, please email the school editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Courtesy of BSB Shunyi