Jamie McNamara took the time out to chat with Jamie McNamara, the new Deputy Head of Junior School Dulwich College in Seoul. Jamie was previously at the Junior school in Dulwich College Beijing Jamie where do you come from? The UK. I grew up in South East London but I have a large family in Scotland and spent a lot of time visiting Glasgow and the Highlands when I was growing up. And your professional experience? I’ve been a teacher now for 8 years and have experienced quite a wide selection of different schools in that relatively short period. The first half of my career was spent in inner London schools supporting children with relatively deprived backgrounds. At times it was mentally exhausting but it could also be hugely rewarding and it gave me a great base of experience from which to build the rest of my career. I came to international teaching by accident really after meeting Ruth, the Junior school Head at Dulwich College Beijing, in a coffee shop in Croydon! I only really expected to be away from London for two years but as the cliché goes, I’ve been bitten by the international teaching bug and at this point in time, it is difficult to ever see myself going back. do you want to go with your career in education? I’m a firm believer that if you put yourself in challenging positions and push yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll find the right place eventually. I’ve progressed quite quickly in my career already so as far as goals are concerned at the moment I just want to finish my dissertation, complete my masters and then continue to learn Mandarin. I just want to keep stretching myself and learning and that way you keep yourself invigorated. After that, the right opportunities will hopefully present themselves. And your family/marital status? I just got married in the summer so who knows what the future holds! Anything you will miss about Beijing the city? I really enjoyed my time in Beijing; I arrived the year after the Olympics and what with that and China’s economic rise there was a real feeling that you were at the center of something just about to lift off. Beijing is a work in progress, it has quite a wild side to it and I miss walking down Hutongs & discovering qwerky little bars, shops and restaurants. How about missing Beijing the school? I have strict instructions from Daryl to say ‘no’ here! I miss the people. At DCB & DCSL, there is an understanding that as teachers you go the extra mile and the intensity of the work can draw you together if you have a good team in place – I’m sure that’s the same at all the schools. I miss some of the colleagues, students and parents who I got to know quite well during the 3 years I was there. Any first impressions of Seoul the city? It’s very clean compared to Beijing and there is access to a more outdoor lifestyle so I’m looking forward to getting fitter and enjoying the hikes and adventure sports around the city and beyond. What will be some of your main challenges you envisage ahead in your new role? It’s always a challenge joining a new school in a leadership role; whilst trying to learn the ropes yourself you’re also trying to help and provide leadership to others and it can be a very difficult balance. The other challenge is to avoid annoying everyone by constantly saying, “Well at my last school we did it like this…”