Staff Profile: Mathew Williams

As our school community grows we will be sharing staff profilesto get to know members of our school family a little better. Each week we will feature a member of staff across all areas of the school including teachers, admin staff, support staff and more.

Our profile this week is Mathew Williams, Head of Creative Arts. BIS Abu Dhabi was fortunate to have Mathew join in 2017 from a sister Nord Anglia school in Vietnam. Below Mathew gives us a snapshot into his background and how he came to work at BIS:

I was born and raised in Llandudno, north Wales, and am a very proud Welshman.

A couple of inspirational people instilled within me a love of performance. With the encouragement and tutelage of a primary school teacher, I competed in various national Eisteddfod competitions, reciting in Welsh and competing against the very best first-language speakers. I had piano lessons and joined a local musical theatre group (led by a truly inspirational couple) and alongside a love of sport, had a wonderfully active childhood.

One of the things which drives me as a teacher is encouraging ambition within my students. Even though I had lots of opportunities as a teenager, I didn’t necessarily receive the guidance I might have. All I wanted to do was become a football commentator (more of my football obsession later…!) and off I went to university to study Radio and Television Production, desperate to emulate the dulcet tones of Mike Ingham, John Motson and Martin Tyler. However, I soon changed tack and pursued performance instead when I realised that I was never destined to rule the airwaves! I still co-hosted a university radio programme – the Comedy Concept – each Monday!

After university and out of work, a couple of chance conversations one week before I actually started my PGCE in Secondary Drama led me to my teaching qualification rather than pursuing a life in politics (another one of my passions): all very coincidental but it was the best career decision I ever made. I taught for a couple of years in England before returning to north Wales where I taught in a large secondary school – as well as being a teacher of English, I was the school’s More Able and Talented Coordinator before becoming the Head of Creative Arts. My proudest moment during six wonderful years was directing Les Miserables with an amazing cast.

In 2012, I travelled with a couple of friends to Vietnam and Cambodia and the rest, as they say, is history! In so many ways, that trip changed my life. I made the decision to apply for a teaching job in Vietnam and in 2013 made the momentous decision to live and work in the heat of Saigon. Little did I realise that I would meet my wife within weeks of beginning work at the British Vietnamese International School (also a Nord Anglia school)! She was working as a teaching assistant, then as Personal Assistant to the Headteacher, and we married in March, 2017. My wife also works here at BISAD and we have been here since August, 2017.

My biggest passion outside of work is football. I am a football fanatic! As a fervent supporter of Liverpool, I experience hope and disappointment on an annual basis. Unfortunately, I often bring bad luck to LFC when watching them at Anfield, so it is probably wise for me to continue living abroad! The best day of my life (aside, of course, from my wedding day!) was 25 May, 2005, when Liverpool lifted their fifth European Cup.

Life is about learning… will I ever learn that football is not ‘the be all and end all’? I think my wife rather hopes I will...

Mathew Williams