When first starting out with Disney English, I was not 100% sure of my goals with the company. I was a teacher at home and was very happy with just a year to travel. However, with a little push from the people around me, I have found my place in China and developed a great life with Disney English. My two years with the company have been filled with growth, development and improvement! Here are a couple of tips from me to you on how you can develop your career with Disney English.
As my parents always said: You get out of something that you put into it. I told myself that, if I was going to build a life in China, I wanted to make it one to remember. I became involved in anything and everything I could. Disney English had social events I attended, Disney VoluntEAR events I sponsored and marketing events I supported. I became involved with Disney Pride events, won a trophy with my Lipsync group and walked two charity fun runs! Disney English had a lot of opportunities for me to get involved and all I had to do was ask.
Develop a Plan
After about five months adjusting to life in China, I had a pretty sizable chat with my direct line manager about what my goals within the company were. We discussed my apartment, food habits and even my Netflix availability to figure out where my head was with my new life. By the time we were finished, I had decided something: I was supported in this role and with the company. So, off I went. My manager and I made a Professional Development Plan where I listed my goals, strengths and areas to improve. I was given trainings and opportunities to grow and achieve those goals. The support from my leadership team was always there as I moved up and made a new plan. From Foreign Trainer to Senior Foreign Trainer to Language Learning Director, my plans have always been personalized and prioritized!
I have always been a creature of habit. Even in Shanghai, I go to the same coffee shop, order the same coffee and smile at the same barista each day. I like my little traditions. But, with a little bit of courage, I branched out at both work and in my personal life. I signed up to give training and presentations to my peers. I wrote clubhouse shows and plays for my students. I took a course in grammar. I took courses in communication, delegation and difficult interactions. I pushed myself to do the things I wasn’t comfortable with and developed skills I didn’t know I needed.
Find Your Place
Everyone has something they bring to the table. Half of what kept me motivated was channeling what I love into something that could benefit the team. For me, one of those things was crafting. I decorated everything from classrooms to the clubhouse to the manager office and common areas. I took my crafting background and turned it into something I could share with my students and team. As I continued to change roles and develop, my relationships and tasks changed too. I do less crafting now than I used to, but it helped me find my place and stay motivated when I needed it most.
Change is often difficult but, when you already moved yourself to China, it’s inevitable. I took that leap and now, two years and two promotions later, I have a new career and life I built for myself. I have developed skills and a management style while traveling the world. I developed a life and I’m continuing to live it my way!
Language Learning Director, Shanghai