Welcome to Jean-Joseph Koudaya!

As we are surfing on the back-to-school wave, we are happy to introduce you to a new member of our school leadership, Jean-Joseph Koudaya, our new Deputy Head in Yangpu. Let’s find out what he was doing before joining us, what his favourite school subject was, what his opinion on middle school is, and much more! 

  • Hello Jean-Joseph, and once again, welcome to Shanghai! How was your moving in?

Quite good, the LFS helped me a lot, Julien Pisselet, our Head of School, Christine Guitton our former Deputy Head, Anne-Claire Vu from the Admissions team; Honestly, I have been supported for all the big steps, and between the moment I arrived at the hotel and the moment I was home, it only took two days. I am very happy!

  • Is it your first journey in China?

First time in China, first time in Asia, first time on this side of the Pacific, it is a first in many aspects! It is really exciting, and more important, it is a family journey, it is a discovery we all do together, which makes it even nicer.

  • What were you doing before joining us?

Before the LFS, I was Deputy Head in a school of exceptional 4 category, meaning the biggest type of school existing in France, it was the biggest school in the Tarn region. I stayed there for 5 years. Before that, I was what we call a Deputy Head in function, I was a teacher detached in a school as Deputy Head in a high school in the French part of Guiana, at Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni.

I was also a French and History teacher in a comprehensive high school, meaning I was teaching technological and industrial streams, as well as general streams. In my old school, the Louis Rascol high school in Albi, which I am happy to quote here because it taught me a lot of things, I had the responsibility of students from Grade 9 preparing professional streams, up to classes preparing to join preparatory classes.

  • What made you want to join the LFS?

Ah this is a good question! I may something that will be cruel to the LFS, but the LFS came to me after the envy. First, it was for me the desire to work abroad that I developed during my studies in French as a Foreign Language. I knew that sooner or later; I would be called to teach abroad. Life has made it possible and when I estimated that I had acquired the skills that could be exploitable and interesting, I told myself why not.

When I presented myself at the AEFE, it happened that the LFS was on the list of available positions, and that’s when I told myself it looked extremely interesting, that it would allow me to learn a lot and showcase my skills.

  • By joining the Yangpu campus, what do you wish to bring to the Secondary?

This is special to me! Because I am a child of the Republic, I have the love for school, and the children here also do, if not more. I think that all I can bring are contributions, contributions to excellence, we must try our best, contributions to a positive mindset, people here seem to be working well, a lot, with heart and pleasure. If I can bring an added-value, I hope I can bring a positive philosophy about life.

  • According to you, how is middle school a key step of a child’s development?

I will hide behind sociology for this one. (Laughs) Let me explain, sociology proves us by A+B that children change in middle school and that determinisms occur. Some students who were good and very good in Primary, will start blending in the crowd, and see objectives, ambitions and dreams decrease.

The better we accompany them, the better they can go through this phase and come back or remain students with big dreams, ambitions, and the willpower to succeed.

Middle school is a major milestone. The second thing is that it’s in middle school that the first steps of the future citizen are made. We observe students failing, succeeding, engaging themselves in students’ life, especially with the high school committee. And honestly, we can sometimes see a significant difference.

  • How do you think high school is different from middle school, in the sociological and pedagogical aspects?

I would give two elements. Firstly, it is when we leave middle school that we face our first choice of path, “You will go in x or y stream.” In Grade 10, we have a second choice to make, before the Baccalaureate, we close a door to be able to open one. In high school, students are told for the first time “You make choices that will have consequences on maybe a big part of your life.” It is also in high school that students are told that they are actors of their education, especially with the reform of the Baccalaureate, which forces them to choose, to renounce to some subjects, naturally wondering “What do I want to appreciate, what do I want to develop, what are the skills I want to obtain, and until which point I can assume the path I will take?”.

Highschool changes the way their life will build itself in the future.

  • What was your favourite subject in middle school?

(Laughs) This is an easy one! I became a French teacher, I studied literature, of course it is French. French made me become a teacher. I was an avid reader, and I met a teacher, Miss. Barrère, who was my classroom teacher from Grade 7 to Grade 9, and who had students who like me, were destined to have manual or technological jobs, following our social background. And she is the one who told us: “Gentlemen, dream stronger.”

It took us years to grow and to wonder “Why not?”. I told myself, someone who can bring a stranger to change his/her life, to want more, to dare dreaming, it is a wonderful job. And that’s how I came to think that becoming a teacher would be good for me. 100% true story.

  • What do you wish to tell our students for this back-to-school?

As a matter of fact, I have already told them. I wish them to appreciate the time they spend in middle school because these are crucial years in their life; Years later, we still remember middle school, friends met, even though we lost some along the way. 

I wish them to work to the highest of their ambition, to have ambition, and to tell themselves “I did what I could do, I am happy about myself, I went where I wanted to go, or where I could go, by giving myself the means to succeed.” 

Last thing, as important if not more, I wish them to have fun, because when we have fun, we love what we do, times flies quicker, and doesn’t really give us the impression to work because we have fun doing it.