Taking the plunge after teaching!
And do what?
Like many, as committed and successful international school teachers, John Chapman and his partner Sue Beebe anticipated following career paths into senior management. A casual conversation with friends whilst holidaying in Bali changed everything.
A life in teaching?
So you have been teaching for twenty years, between you and your partner you have racked up an impressive resume: primary class teacher, secondary subject teacher, librarian, school house leader, key stage leader, pastoral leader, head of faculty, chief cook and bottle washer… the list goes on.
But sitting at the back of your mind is the big question, “What Next?”
Teaching and raising a family has been your focus for more years than you wish to count. Then all of a sudden the children are now adults and have flown the nest. You find that you have been in the school for more than fifteen years and the life of an International school teacher is still ticking a lot of the boxes. Your senior managers start hinting that maybe the jump to deputy headship should be considered and a great career stretches out in front of you.
A new direction
This was the position in which we found ourselves more than eleven years ago when the fickle finger of fate stepped in. While on holiday in Bali, we dived with friends who ran a scuba centre on Nusa Lembongan.
After a great week of diving we all headed out for dinner, and over a few Bintangs, we were told that they were selling up and moving to New Zealand. Of course questions were casually asked,
“Oh that’s a shame, why are you moving?”
“Has anyone made you an offer yet?”
“ Er, just as a matter of interest, how much are you selling the business for?”
That last seemingly innocent question lead to an incredible life-style change. They asked if we were interested and much to our surprise we found we were. We could afford their asking price, we both had ten years of experience running the scuba club at the school and we did not want to let such a unique opportunity slip through our fingers. So there followed an incredibly rapid period of listing the pros and cons, discussing the idea with family and friends, checking to see if we would go bust in a year and listening to a lot of sage advice before finally taking the plunge!
Was it difficult? You bet it was. We had strong friendships in Jakarta, especially with a lot of the Indonesians who had worked with us for many years. Saying goodbye to them was tough. Some of them were like family and had played a huge part in bringing up the kids so the separation was keenly felt on both sides.
Making sure that all the assessment projects, handover notes and curriculum documentation was completed before we left meant burning a tanker of midnight oil.
Selling and packing the contents of two houses in Jakarta and organising the shipping of all our worldly goods to a tiny island fifteen kilometres off the coast of Bali was probably the easiest of all the tasks we faced, though it did cause the movers a bit of a headache. And then there was the dog! More about her travels later!
Buying the company was equally fraught. Several trips to Bali were needed, firstly to meet with our Indonesian partners who had helped our friends set up World Diving Lembongan in the first place, then to meet a succession of lawyers who drew up the contracts, powers of attorney and various other legal devices to make sure that the company was ours. Finally was our introduction to the staff who would be working with us in our new venture. This was a staff meeting that had to be a hit! Talk about being aware of first impressions.
So there we were, exiting the safe and secure life of an international school teacher and stepping out into a new life, without a safety net. Never did a flight out of Jakarta seem so full of potential!
John Chapman, World Diving Lembongan,
For more about John’s Dive Centre see: http://www.world-diving.com/