Staying After Class with… Dusten Kent

Dusten Kent is the Secondary Vice Principal at Yew Chung International School (YCIS)’s Century Park Campus in Pudong. In addition to being part of the senior leadership team, the Canadian has a hands-on-role teaching ‘The Theory of Knowledge’ (TOK) for Year 13 IB students, and has seen a number of this year’s graduating cohort grow up with the school. Here, the father of two discusses his experiences at the school and the rewards of seeing students’ development over time. 

Tell us about your journey to YCIS Shanghai?

Prior to completing my Masters Degree in Education I had spent six years in Taiwan and Singapore teaching before landing in Shanghai. It was YCIS’s unique Philosophy and Objectives that initially drew me to the school. That was 10 years ago now, and I am still excited to be part of this school’s holistic approach to education and the ever-expanding programmes on offer for families who come to this dynamic city.

Your began your career at YCIS years ago as a Primary Class Teacher – what was that like?

I have had many roles during my time at YCIS, and have grown personally and professionally from the experience. In a pastoral sense, working as a Primary Co-Teacher provided me with a perspective that has served me well when later working with our senior students where we care for the whole child. I look back fondly on those years as I enjoyed seeing students’ curiosity for knowledge, becoming  “switched on” about the joys of learning.

Tell us about your role as Vice Principal?

In my current role, I work closely with our Co-Principals, the academic Heads of Department and the school’s’ Coordinators on the short and long term planning for the school. YCIS invests much in professional development for its teachers and leaders, and we are up-to-date on the most current and best informed practices in international education that have the greatest impact on teaching and learning. While my position allows me to have greater involvement with the leadership and direction the school is headed, it is ultimately the inspiring and dedicated teachers in the classrooms that we work with so closely who model the collective vision and resulting student successes we share. 

This year you will watch several students you taught when they were in Primary school graduate. It must be amazing to watch children as they develop! 

Indeed, this graduating cohort is very special to me. I taught several of our Year 13 students my very first year as a Primary classroom teacher, and have also been their TOK teacher for their final two years of the IB Diploma Programme. To witness them grow and complete the full YCIS experience is definitely a career high for me, and I am extremely proud of them for their achievements. Seeing their acceptances to some of the most prestigious universities in the world is just the icing on the cake!

With children of your own at YCIS, what experiences do you hope they take with them from their international education? 

My daughters are in both the ECE and Primary sections, and because I know how well YCIS prepares students for their educational journey ahead, it gives my wife and I a great sense of security. I also think the school’s emphasis on Character Education develops young people who are not just strong academically, but who are also thoughtful and compassionate global citizens. So we are very happy parents as our daughters are thriving here. They too teach me new things all the time! 

Do you have any words of wisdom you will share with the students as they graduate this month?

Be true to yourself, dream large and do not let the temporary setbacks along the way hinder your momentum to achieve your goals. Be kind to one another, be thankful for the opportunities that present themselves, and remain humble through all the many successes that await you.

 

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