Friday, June 25, 2010

ICS

School's out for the summer for my former co-workers and students at the Inter-Community School of Zurich. Townes and I popped by yesterday and caught teachers slipping into celebration mode. We went in order to pick up some preschool materials that we'll be taking on to Ghana but it was also nice to see good friends.
Here's a shot from some of my kids on their last day of school a few years ago:




As some of you may know, my first year of teaching right out of college was a tough one. I sought out a difficult assignment in an inner city school that was under-resourced and understaffed. And it was hard, really hard. Loving my students and believing that everyone can learn wasn't enough on a daily basis. By the time the year ended, I had decided it was time to step away from teaching. So I stepped really far away to Caracas!

Getting the job at ICS was a true blessing. My friend Nancy had introduced me to the principal who started calling me in to substitute. An unexpected opening popped up and I was hired. Later I asked the principal about why he had hired me when they are turning away dozens of highly qualified teachers at international school fair. He said that many years of working in schools has taught him that personality was often more important than a resume.

The school really is impressive- a bit shy of 1000 students from pre-K to 12th grade, 40+ countries in the student body, and teachers from all over (many of whom have been spinning the globe for years, just teaching in whatever region interested them). The school follows the IB program which means I was introduced to the Primary Years Program. At first it just seemed like a bunch of acronyms to learn but I really was drawn to the emphasis on teaching kids to be lifelong learners.

Hmm, I'm feeling compelled to tell lots of teacher stories about funny things my students did and said. But instead I'll just say that my time at ICS restored my love of teaching and it prepared me to try again. I doubt that I will ever teach at a school that is as abundantly resourced with materials and a tremendous support staff and eager, involved families. And the training I received on using a SmartBoard probably won't be put to use in the schools where I'll be volunteering a bit in Africa. However, I learned many things in my years at ICS that will impact career decisions I make in the future.

Not so many pictures from school...I suppose they're all tucked away in my files. This picture was the day that we mailed our Flat Stanleys around the world and it was also Crazy Hair Day. If you're guessing that the kid in the bottom right corner was trouble, you're absolutely right!


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