Mark Simon, a former banker from Montreal, Canada gave up the finance world and moved to China to teach English recently.Now he’s teaching the Chinese to play hockey.
Simon, an avid hockey player since age five, says that the sport turned out to be a useful tool for teaching English to the Chinese.
And even better – he has tons of fun at work every day.
“I get up in the morning and that’s what I think about. Of course it’s gratifying to see Chinese kids develop and look up to us, especially because we’re the one club that has western coaches. And so that helps us grow because we teach in English. So, for a lot of the Chinese parents, that’s very appealing to them, to have instruction in English. So, it’s gone really well. Every year, we get a few more Chinese kids, so it’s great.”
Now the Canadian native is the vice president and head coach of a youth hockey club in Beijing.
Life is good, but Simon recalls a moment of sheer disaster.
In 2008, Simon took a youth team to Ottawa for a tournament. The trip involved lost luggage, missing equipment and jet-lagged players, according to a blog entry by Simon. The Radisson hotel the team was staying at was set on fire by arson, but the team was ok — they ended up being champions.
Simon also got to meet the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.