What makes a BCIS teacher a BCIS teacher? Is it their kindness and compassion? Their focus on forward-thinking approaches to student-centered learning? Their rich experience in diverse education settings? We believe it's a combination of all these traits that make our teachers stand out! Our BCIS teaching team caringly provides excellent education to students from nursery through secondary school. Our 151 teachers from 25 countries bring a wealth of educational experience to create a collaborative and open learning environment. We talked with three of our new teachers to hear their thoughts on working at BCIS, and what novel approaches they will bring to the school themselves to enrich the experience for learners!
We would like to extend a warm BCIS family welcome to our new teachers: Kayla, Karen, and Chris! They are all passionate international educators with positive attitudes that make them perfect fits in our BCIS community. Kayla, a grade one homeroom teacher, comes from a tiny town of only 500 people in British Columbia, Canada. In 2017, she came to one of the largest cities in the world, Beijing, to start her teaching career! Karen joins us from Melbourne, Australia as a counselor in the Middle School. She has experience in both counseling and teaching in a diverse range of locations, including Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Italy. Chris comes from New York City. He began his career in international education while living in Seoul, South Korea, and now teaches Design and Technology (DT) at the Middle School. Their variety of backgrounds and experiences helps to strengthen and bring new points of view to our excellent BCIS teaching team.
Although our new teachers have only been at BCIS for a few weeks, they are already making an impact on their students and colleagues. Kayla, Karen, and Chris all fit in well with BCIS's goal to provide our students with preparation for an ever-changing future. Chris explains how he wants to use Design Technology class to prepare his students with the skills they need to succeed, stating, "I want to teach them how to be adaptable and flexible. If they have the opportunity to go somewhere else, I want them to go there and be able to adapt: to have the knowledge and skills and be able to apply it in a different context." Students who graduate from BCIS will have the skills to be proactive thinkers and purposeful doers.
Our BCIS students will benefit from the abilities they gain through our IB and IDEATE programs, as well as the unique perspectives our teachers bring to the classroom. Our diverse staff serves as a model for students on how to collaborate and bring together different ideas, something our teacher teams do every day. For example, Kayla is using her strong science background to bring interesting content to her students. "I love science, it's a fun area for me to teach, so I'm trying to introduce more science concepts in the class as well. For instance, we have a boy who wants to be an astronaut, so the kids and I designed a whole space area in the classroom." she says. The diversity in our teachers can be passed on to our students to help them conduct inquiry-based learning on topics they choose themselves.
In addition to a wide range of topics that allow students to learn about what interests them, students at BCIS are also taught to be compassionate and inspired people. This inspiration starts from our teachers, who model the traits our students will learn. Karen describes how her own personal counseling style helps her connect with students, saying, "I want to make it more open and inviting for students to be here by getting into classrooms and seeing kids in action. Going out to the lunchroom, going out to the playground and being visible." Her outgoing and friendly nature enables Karen to collaborate with our staff and work with our students to make them feel comfortable at school. Our caring and gentle teaching staff create an environment where students also learn to be kind and considerate!
As interesting and diverse as our staff is here at BCIS, the one thing they all agree on is the importance of focusing on the students. "We have a common goal here: we want what's best for our students," Karen says. She has already held workshops with students in the Middle School on health and well-being and worked with many students one-on-one to help them with any of their individual needs. Meanwhile, Kayla and Chris both create student-centered lessons that allow learners to be imaginative and creative based on their own interests. Kayla describes how her grade 1 teaching team focuses on students in their planning, saying, "My favorite part is that most of our plans are driven from what the children are interested in." Perhaps, the most important feature of a BCIS teacher is their care for the students.
Thanks to all our teachers new and old for helping our students grow into compassionate and confident learners who are ready for the future! We embrace the different backgrounds of our staff and students. As Chris states, diversity is "almost like an immune system: if you limit your exposure to only a few different things, when you have something that is different you are going to be shocked. The way to reduce that shock is to be exposed to a lot of things." Our great group of diverse teachers like Kayla, Karen, and Chris, helps expose our school to a variety of ideas and passions, so that we can all come together as an even stronger BCIS community!