The International Educator
STEPHEN DEXTER, a native of New England, has been a teacher and administrator since 1994. He finally discovered that the Swiss stay thin on a diet of chocolate, cheese and wine by walking a lot and not eating or drinking to excess. He is currently taking a gap year in the Swiss Alps to rediscover his passion for education and to understand what chief innovation officers really do.
DANIEL KERR is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby.
KASSI COWLES is an IB English and TOK teacher currently based in Shanghai. She has worked in international education for the last 8 years in Canada, Togo and China. Her writing explores issues of educational reform and how to create authentic and creative learning communities.
MATTHEW GOOD & NIAMH CONWAY are international school teachers who met while working at the British School of Lome, in Togo, West Africa. They later moved to Uzbekistan, where they spent four years at Tashkent International School, each summer exploring another slice of the world by bike. Their Pedalgogy website allows users to follow the touring teachers on their two-year bike trip around the world.
BARRY DEQUANNE is currently working as the Head of School at the American School of Brasilia. His blog explores topics in K-12 education and school leadership within the framework of five focus areas: Academics, Activities, Arts, Leadership, and Service. The blog also explores professional articles and highlights recently read books.
EMILY MEADOWS is an alumni of international schools and has worked as a professional educator and counselor across the world, serving children and families in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. She holds master’s degrees in the fields of Counseling and Sexual Health, and is a PhD candidate researching inclusive policy and practice for LGBTQ+ students. Emily is a consultant on gender and sexual diversity and inclusion in international schools: www.emilymeadows.org
DAVID PENBERG is an urban and international educational leader/consultant with a deep commitment to progressive education, understanding global mindedness, and new school creation. He abides by the dictum of E.E. Cummings who said: “ I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing, than teach ten thousand stars not to dance.” He is presently the Head of School of Innovate Manhattan Charter School in New York City.
SHANNON FEHSE Shannon Fehse has spent her entire teaching career overseas, having lived and worked in China, Mexico, Colombia, Taiwan, and presently, the UAE. As a textbook definition extrovert, she talks to anyone, and enjoys listening to stories and different perspectives on life. Shannon has a somewhat faulty filter and often says what other people are thinking, but this typically works out favorably. She offers opinions and insight into the benefits and challenges of job hunting, dating overseas, and general issues that affect international educators.
MIKE SIMPSON is the Director of Curriculum and Learning at The International School Yangon. Originally a lawyer from New Zealand, Mike has also worked in schools in Qatar, Venezuela, and Lesotho. Mike has a particular interest in the development of collaborative and innovative learning communities. He hopes that his blog might be of interest to other teachers and school leaders as they nurture these communities in their own schools.
GREGORY HEDGER Dr. Gregory Hedger has recently been appointed to be the head of the International School Yangon, in Myanmar, beginning in fall 2016. A native of Minnesota, Greg has served in education for over 25 years, including 13 years in the role of School Director at Cayman International School, Qatar Academy, and most recently as Superintendent at Escuela Campo Alegre in Venezuela. Greg promotes international education through his service on the boards of AAIE, AASSA, and his work with the International Task Force for Child Protection, his contributions to various periodicals, and his work to promote the next generation of leaders through workshops and teaching.
LINDSAY LYON is a seasoned English and Theory of Knowledge teacher currently working at JIS. She and her husband have taught abroad as a teaching team for fifteen years in Venezuela, Thailand, China, Saudi Arabia, and now Indonesia. They write about expat life with a focus on money and savings in their blog The Haggard Lyon. Here you will find some of the same, and other musings from Lindsay on life overseas with kids, teaching, technology, and staying balanced in a busy world.
NICHOLAS ALCHIN is High School Principal at the United World College of SE Asia, East Campus. A sino-celtic Brit who has lived and taught in the UK, Switzerland, Kenya, and Singapore, he has also held a number of roles with the IB and writes and speaks widely on educational matters. He enjoys traveling with wife Ellie, and kids Tom (10), Millie (13) and Ruth (16).
TONY DEPRATO Tony DePrato has a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University and has been working as a Director of Educational Technology since 2009. He has worked in the United Arab Emirates and China where he has consulted with schools in both regions on various technology topics. In 2013, Tony DePrato released The BYOD Playbook a free guide for schools looking to discuss or plan a Bring Your Own Device program. Tony is originally from the US, and worked in multimedia, website development, and freelance video production. Tony is married to Kendra Perkins, who is a librarian.
ETTIE ZILBER is a consultant to International School Communities and Families in Transition and a veteran international school educator and school leader. She has served in independent international schools in Israel, Singapore, Spain, Guatemala, China, and most recently in the USA. Her expertise extends to such topics as international school models, second/foreign language acquisition, communicating between diverse groups, the impact of international mobility and relocation on children, parents and staff, the special family experience of the educators’ children, the orientation of newcomers, multi-cultural communities, catalysts for teaching internationally, and marketing of international schools. She is the author of Third Culture Kids: The Children of International School Educators. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
HELEN KELLY has taught in and led schools in Africa, Europe and Asia over the last twenty years. She has led educational technology teams in three schools. Helen is currently the Lower School Principal at Canadian International School of Hong Kong, where she leads Project Innovate, a Pre-K-12 initiative to bring future-ready learning to the school. Helen completed her Ed.D in 2017 on the emotional challenges that school leaders face in the course of their role. She leads workshops on improving the wellbeing of leaders and educators in international schools.
TRAE HOLLAND is the Director of Academia Cotopaxi’s The ONE Institute, has been a leader in both the non-profit and business sectors, and has 19 years experience teaching both in the US and in international schools, with a specialization in learning differentiation. You can reach his website at www.traeholland.com.
JOHN MIKTON currently is the Head of Education and Media Technology/ Assistant Principal at the International School of Luxembourg . Previously he was the Director of eLearning at the Inter Community School Zurich, Switzerland and the Director of Information Technology at the International School of Prague, Czech Republic. John is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Trainer, Principal Training Center facilitator, Appsevents summit speaker and Learning 2.0 Community Coach. John blogs @ https://beyonddigital.org
FREDERIC BORDAGUIBEL-LABAYLE is the High School Associate Principal and IB Diploma Coordinator at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador. Fred was born and raised in the South West of France; he finished his studies and started teaching in the UK, then went on to Istanbul and he is currently in Quito. Fred likes to pause, reflect and share his experience as an international educator and administrator.
SUE EASTON is the Director of the Teacher Training Center. She has worked with international schools for the past eleven years, on four continents, in roles focused on enhancing teaching and learning practices. This experience has made her passionate about the topic of change and how to best make change to support students and student learning. Her blog will explore this topic through the lens of PTC, TTC and CTC trainers’ words of wisdom.
ALLISON POIROT is currently teaching IB History, Modern World History, and Psychology at Asociación Escuelas Lincoln in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She taught previously at King’s Academy in Madaba, Jordan, and at public and charter schools in and around Boston, Massachusetts. She has a deep interest in progressive pedagogy and believes in fostering student autonomy and empowerment.
The International Educator (TIE) is a non-profit organization committed to matching the best educators with the best international schools around the world.
A Random Act of Kindness…
So over the past two weeks we’ve rolled out an initiative with our students called, Paying It Forward. Essentially, we’ve challenged every one of our kids to not only keep an eye out for random acts of kindness, but to specifically celebrate them as well…and to then pay those random act of kindness forward with a good deed of their own. We’ve supplied beautiful strips of coloured paper to each grade level and mentor teacher throughout the divisions (as well as a few sharpie markers), and we’ve asked students and teachers alike to write down their celebrations so we can hang them on our rainbow trees…tress that we’ve purposefully earmarked around the campus that will serve as symbols of what we value as a community, and as daily reminders of what’s truly important in our lives and in education.
This initiative has been met with tremendous enthusiasm as you can imagine, and we’ve already hung our first round of celebrations. In my opinion, there’s not much in our lives as educators that is more important than developing a culture of kindness and celebration with our students, and to specifically teach and model how impactful we can be in the lives of others…even with the smallest act of generosity, or caring, or compassion, or kindness, we can change a person’s day for the better, and if we string enough of these acts together, we can begin changing lives. The amazing thing about schools is that these random acts of kindness are happening everyday and all around because that’s the beauty of children…we’re just making a specific attempt to capture these, and to make them visible for all to see…and I couldn’t be more excited!
Some of you might remember that I wrote a post a couple of years ago titled, “Pay It Forward”, and it encouraged everyone to reach out and specifically thank the people in their lives that have made a positive difference in shaping who they are, and who they’ve become. We can sometimes go days and months and years without thinking about the inspirations in our lives who have helped us along the way…it could have been a parent, a long time friend, a teacher, a colleague, or simply an acquaintance who you hardly know who has impacted your life in a meaningful way. Not only is it important to think about these change agents, it’s even more important in my opinion, to search them out and to thank them specifically. I can guarantee that your simple little message will change their day for the better…it might even change their life or career…it doesn’t take much to change someone’s life for the better as you all know, and as a friend of mine likes to say, “I can live off of a single compliment for a month!”.
I’m imploring you all this week to take ten minutes out of your busy lives, and as a specific exercise think about the people who deserve to hear from you…then take two minutes and write to them specifically…or call them…or walk up to them in person and say what you need to say. It’s a random act of kindness that they won’t expect, and one that will solicit a hug, or a smile, or maybe even a tear…ask them then to pay it forward and to do the same for someone that they know…and if you’re fortunate, it might just be you!
You see, as educators we have such an opportunity to model the things that are truly important in this life, and being kind is at the top of the list. More importantly than teaching content, or organization, or study habits to our kids, is the specific act of teaching kindness, and compassion, and empathy, and how to be a good person who looks out for others and has a humble and caring nature. These skills will go a lot further down the road, and if we can get our students to graduate from our schools with these life skills firmly embedded in who they are as young adults, then we truly win as a global community.
Let’s lead the charge over the next few months and bring this initiative to life, and make those rainbow trees explode into things of beauty, and symbols of what we value and stand for as a community. Pay it forward everyone, and challenge yourselves to dish out at least one or two random acts of kindness each and every day…together we’ll watch this initiative spread throughout our student body and we’ll share in the smiles that will undoubtedly take over our days. Also, when you have a few minutes this week, watch the videos that I’ve included below…show one or two of them to your kids as well…they will help to jump start your week, and put you in the right frame of mind. Have a fantastic week everyone and remember to be great for our students and pay it forward with each other…this coming week might just be the best one of the year!
Quote of the Week….
Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind – Henry James
Articles and Websites –
Watch these Videos!