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The Hot Seat with Eleanor Prescott

In our Hot Seat series, we speak to teachers from different international schools, getting their thoughts on teaching and working in Shanghai. This time we talk to Eleanor Prescott, Second Master and Head of Senior School at Wellington College International Shanghai


How did you come to this position as head of senior school at Wellington's Shanghai campus?

Before coming to Shanghai in 2014 I'd taught at Wellington's Berkshire campus for four years, so I was already very familiar with the school's values. Making the leap to the school's Shanghai campus seemed like the next natural step.

Have you always worked in education?

No, actually before I moved into education, I worked in banking for 10 years. Having been a teacher for a while now, I do find that the two industries couldn't be more different!

How so?

Teaching is a demanding job that keeps you on your toes, at all times. Unlike a lot of office jobs, you can't procrastinate by surfing the net or checking your emails when you've got a class in front of you!Teaching is far more intense. It's funny, because when I worked in banking I had all the usual preconceptions about teachers; they had nice long holidays, not that much stress and a nice easy life. As a teacher though, I've realized that when those holidays do come, they are an extremely welcome break!

How is Wellington different from other international schools in Shanghai?

At Wellington I think we really place an emphasis on trying to equip students with the tools they'll need in life to become adaptable, resourceful and happy adults. We place a lot of value in trying, with the aid of extracurricular activities like sport and drama, to make sure our students are always being exposed to different ways of learning. It's about setting our students up to do well at life.

How did you find settling into Shanghai? Any particular challenges?

I'd say they were the usual things, like how challenging every day life could be when I first came and didn't speak the language. Now that I do, getting around and exploring the city is much easier.

What do you like the most about being based in Shanghai?

I've really enjoyed Shanghai's location in terms of travel, so I've liked being able to travel around Southeast Asia and different parts of China.

Outside of the school and work, what are your interests?

I really like going to galleries or just spending time with friends in Lujiazui, looking at the lights. I love that there's so much to do here, so you're never bored.