Brian Yin holds a microphone near a podium.

Life is more fun with purpose

July 4, 2024

From classroom to career: Brian Yin

Brian Yin discovered his passion for education while coaching and mentoring others when he worked as an auditor in New York. He contacted his old high school principal about the possibility of becoming a teacher and after an encouraging reply decided to pursue teaching.

He enrolled in VIU’s Bachelor of Education, Post Baccalaureate program, graduating in 2017. He now works as the Principal of Sino-Canada School. 

“Even though I only spent 18 months at VIU, it was an important and memorable episode of my life that helped me wrap up my 20s,” says Brian. “I would like to thank VIU and all the people I met along the way.”

Here, Brian shares some of his VIU highlights.

Why did you choose VIU for your education?

VIU was very reasonable and accepted the coaching and mentoring experiences that I accumulated in my previous jobs. Once I started the application process, I was then pleasantly surprised by how kind and helpful my advisor Dr. Marian Riedel was. I still remember we had one call and she answered all my questions and it was smooth sailing from there. In the end, it was the people that made me choose VIU.

Where were you in your life when you realized education would help you achieve your goals?

I was working as an auditor at one of the big four accounting firms in New York City. Sunday was always my worst day. I would often have too much anxiety to sleep on Sundays because the next day I had to go to work. I always found myself enjoying coaching junior staff even though the job was soul-crushing. I had some leadership experiences in university that also involved a lot of coaching, and I was quite good at it, so I emailed my high school principal and asked for his thoughts on my plan to become a teacher. He wrote me the most encouraging reply. The rest is history.

Tell us a bit about your experience at VIU and in your program.

I enjoyed our cohort. Everybody in that cohort was unique. Working with them and getting to know them was a lot of fun. One of my classmates works with me at my school right now, and another works in a BC offshore school in Shanghai. The professors were all very nice and supportive. I miss my cohort.

Were there any unexpected benefits you discovered after becoming a student?

I enjoyed the experience also because I was a career changer and chose to do it. It felt very different from not knowing what to do in life and going to college for the sake of a degree at 18. The experience reaffirmed that life is more fun when it is purposeful.

How did your program prepare you for your current role in the workforce?

I enjoyed the practicum experiences where I got to teach at local high schools. The entire process was well organized and I only needed to focus on my teaching. All my sponsor teachers were very nice and so were the students. For my second practicum, I did an international one at my current school, and I was offered a teaching position after five weeks.

Can you share an experience that made an impact on your learning experience? 

I also want to thank Lee who was my on-site supervisor during one of the practicums. He taught me the importance of chunking the lesson, which I apply to this day. It is also one of the key teaching strategies that I emphasize with teachers at my school.

What’s next for you?

I turned 36 this June. Looking back, I didn't enjoy my working abroad experience in my mid-20s because I was doing something just for that paycheck. A decade later, I realized that I am passionate about education. I would like to give working abroad another try now that I am in a much better place in life.

What are you most proud of since completing your program at VIU?

I led our program through probably the most difficult situation that it had ever faced since it was founded 20 years ago. We faced severe challenges in enrollment and teacher recruitment due to the pandemic and strict lockdown policies in China, which caused us to not be able to host open house events. We maintained our enrollment number by recruiting directly from a former BC offshore school and convinced more than 100 of their students to transfer over. This year we have a teacher retention rate of 96 per cent. 


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