Teacher Talks: Jane Gibbons

Jane Gibbons was 23 when she decided to leave England, her home of 23 years. “I find it boring to be in one place,” she said, and so she set out to explore the world.

Since then, Gibbons has experienced numerous adventures, from attending university and teaching to traveling all over the world. Some of these adventures remain her happiest memories, including volunteering in an orphanage in South America, working at a ski resort in the Alps, and living with a Bolivian family in La Paz.

“The world is such a big place,” she said, “and as international students, you have so many opportunities to travel, and I had none of that, so now, as I’m older, I think I’ve just really embraced the change and the diversity.”

From these adventures, Gibbons has learned many things, one of them being: “You should never judge other people.”

“We all have our viewpoints and we often don’t realize how much our culture and our viewpoints affect the behavior and the way that we speak or the judgments that we make,” she said, “I think if we acknowledge differences, that can make us better as people and we can get along better.”

This motif of differences and cultural diversity can also be seen in her job as an international teacher, “I think that’s the one thing I really like about UNIS,” she said, “there is so much cultural diversity that I get to learn a lot about the individual cultures.”

Gibbons does not know what she would have done if she hadn’t become a teacher. “I didn’t really think much about what I wanted to do, and then I went to university and a lot of my friends started to become teachers,” she said, “and I think that’s why I just did it as well.”

While in New Zealand, Gibbons held several data entry jobs. None of these office jobs would make her happy, however, “they were so boring,” she said.

Being an international teacher has helped Gibbons to unite her two interests: traveling and teaching.

“There’s so much more to the world to see, so being an international school teacher gives you the opportunity to go and travel to places, and so I feel really privileged,” she said. “It’s the best of both worlds.”

When it comes to her next adventure, Gibbons is unsure. Although she does ultimately regard England as her home, she does not plan on moving back anytime soon. And as for the future: “This is our fifth year [at UNIS],” she said, “we want to live somewhere else, not because we don’t like UNIS or Hanoi, but it’s more to have another experience.”