Teachers In the Spotlight: Mark Coyle

In the fifteenth of our regular series of interviews with staff at Dulwich International High School Suzhou, we are delighted to present the highlights of an interview with Mark Coyle, a University and College Counsellor at our school.


 01  Where are you from and where did you grow up?

From Luton just north of London, but – luckily – was able to leave as I studied in an independent school in Bedford.

 02  Tell us about your Educational background + teaching experience

I have a BA from the University of York in Social Policy, an MA in TESOL from Sheffield Hallam and a Diploma in TESOL from Trinity College London, and finally a PGCEi from the University of Nottingham. I also have some non-academic qualifications in coaching football and teacher training.


 03  When did you realize you wanted to become a teacher?

My mother and father were teachers, my grandmother was a teacher, my grandfather was a priest, and their parents were also teachers. It really is in my blood to teach.

 04   Who is your biggest role model?

My grandmother looked after us as kids and really taught me about how to respect others, how to build community and would often start debates at the dinner table. So many stories I tell my kids start with Grandma said…


 05   What are your hobbies and what do you enjoy most about them?

I have only one hobby – football. I watch football, especially live football, play football a couple of times every week, and coach football to kids on the weekends. Luckily my kids also love football and it is a family hobby!


 05  What is most rewarding about your job?

As college counsellors at Dulwich, we see the students’ development and the outcomes of the whole school’s hard work. Students progress is evident in their choices and grades – but also the rewards of being in the sports clubs and taking on responsibility around the school. The universities value these additions and it is rewarding for me to read and write the letters of recommendation showing student’s excellence across their school life.


 07   If you could be in any musical or movie or a book character what would it be? Why?

I love crime books and movies so I’d probably be a policeman or detective.

 08   What food is like a guilty pleasure to you?

Ice cream. I try not to snack, but I cannot resist an ice cream on a hot day.

 09   Describe yourself in 3 words.

Football, Father, Football

 10   Tell us about your experiences living in China and Suzhou

I have lived in Suzhou since 2003 and am a permanent resident of China. I have really enjoyed seeing the city of Suzhou develop. I have been in China longer than some of our students now and can remember our campus as a marshland. The scale of change is really beyond what my home country could ever do!


 11   How do you find teaching Chinese students/or students?

I really enjoy the respect shown by Chinese students and, especially at Dulwich, that our students are bravely willing to do new clubs or activities. With these new skills being learnt the students are really changing the shape of education in China.


 12  Any advice to students at Dulwich International High School Suzhou?

Take advantage of the environment in the school to join new clubs and speak in English. The more practice you do at school will prepare you for tests like IELTS or TOEFL, the skills learnt will prepare you for life at university and beyond.

 12  What are your plans for the next 5 years

Hopefully, I’ll be picked to play for my beloved United – but as a plan B, I hope to see my family and Dulwich students enjoy life!