Teacher Feature: Katia Marie Francisque
Katia Marie Francisque
Meet Katia Marie Francisque! We had the honor of supporting Katia’s first move into teaching abroad at the ISS 2019 San Francisco job fair, where she accepted a position with Dalian American International School, China. This past academic year, ISS was pleased to again support Katia’s success at another step in her international school journey: she now serves as a Kindergarten Teacher at BASIS International School – Wuhan.
In this feature, hear Katia’s reflections on what drew her to international education, what excites her about this new position at BASIS — plus, how growth, goals, authenticity, and faith inspire her work.
Hello Katia, please introduce yourself! What should we know about you?
I’m a native New Yorker. My family originates from Haiti, a country located in the Caribbean Islands. Like many of the students I teach today, I grew up in a bilingual home setting and had the opportunity to thrive academically in the American private school culture. Living in “The Big Apple”, I was surrounded by a diverse community that embodied various languages. I witnessed different backgrounds through music, food, and the performing arts. My grandmother encouraged me to learn Haitian-Creole as a child and fostered my interest in teaching, as she was an extraordinary childcare provider. She taught me the importance of ensuring the well-being of every child in my charge.
In my high school and college years, I learned about opportunities to study abroad and aspired to live internationally. After college, I began my teaching career while completing my master’s degree in early childhood education. In 2010, I led my first classroom of preschoolers at a private academy in Brooklyn. Following that, I provided home-schooling then moved on to the New York State Department of Education public school system where I taught in both general education and special education settings.
It is my utmost joy to serve as an educator to young learners. I approach my work with creativity. I am a trailblazer by nature and enjoy encouraging novice teachers to enhance their students’ classroom experience by being innovative.
Katia teaching a children’s mindful movement after school activity (NYC, 2018)
Katia teaching at Dalian American International School
What inspired you to pursue international education?
My career goal shifted from wanting to teach to expanding my knowledge and experience as a teacher. Years ago, I had a mentor from Spain who inspired me to envision and plan beyond my accomplishments. Considering my next stage as a teacher, I drew upon that same advice and decided that teaching internationally would fulfill my aspirations.
When I actively began pursuing my international career, I researched several schools in different regions. My first attempt did not yield the results I’d wished for, so I put my search on hold. As I continued teaching, my calling to venture out grew stronger. I attended the ISS job fair and was elated to join the DAIS team in Dalian, China from 2019-2022. Teaching in China proved to be a gateway to re-approaching my work as a teacher, with newness.
Congratulations on your new role at BASIS International School – Wuhan! What are you excited to experience in your next school and country?
While I have lived in China previously, I am excited to experience post-Covid life there! I welcome the opportunity to travel to new cities. What excites me most about my new position is the emphasis on inquiry-based learning in the early years. I have maintained an interest in developing professionally in this area. I also look forward to incorporating mindfulness as a tool for building character and community. Throughout my career, supporting children in mindfulness has been a priority in my classroom. As a founding teacher of BASIS Wuhan, I am humbled to be a part of a remarkable team; thus, establishing an exemplar environment for students and families.
And finally, any advice for other educators thinking about taking their career abroad?
My advice to educators considering an international position for the first time is to reflect on their purpose for wanting to teach abroad. In what areas are they looking for growth? Having a plan and purpose can help drive their search as well as provide support when situations become challenging.
There is great benefit in taking the time to research schools of interest. It is necessary to ask questions, consider factors of personal importance, and avoid the tendency to get discouraged if doors close. Remove limitations on prospective opportunities and bear in mind that the ideal position may not be packaged as you imagined.
I advise educators to work with a recruitment organization to assist in their search of finding quality schools. I have received multiple job offers through International Schools Services.
I also encourage educators to keep an open mind and learn about the culture they intend to work in. It is helpful to familiarize oneself with basic language phrases in daily life in addition to cultural norms. For many of us, teaching internationally takes us miles away from our home. It is a commitment not to be taken lightly. Remaining connected to relationships back home helps to ease the transition to new beginnings.
Lastly, I inspire educators to never forget where they come from. Being true to who you are allows you to show up authentically for your students and community. For those who believe in a higher power, keep your faith at the center of what you do and don’t be afraid to take risks.
Many thanks to Katia for sharing her journey! We greatly appreciate her career reflections, along with this powerful advice and encouragement for other educators. You can learn more about launching your own international education journey with ISS EDUrecruit here.
ISS is also excited to welcome back candidates and recruiters to both virtual in-person fairs this season! Find more information and save the dates here.