At One World International School, our teachers play an integral role in creating a dynamic, cohesive community. They’re passionate about what they do, and their enthusiasm is contagious, as evidenced by the excitement with which our students approach learning. What’s our secret?
To find out, we sat down with Venthan A M, Grade 12 Tutor, Science Teacher, ToK Coordinator and Assistant IB DP Coordinator to get his perspective on why he loves working at OWIS. Here’s what he had to say.
Q. What do you love about teaching at OWIS?
A. What I especially like about OWIS is how the leadership team and teachers work so well together. Another encouraging factor for me is how vibrant the students are.
Q. How does your work here compare to your other teaching experiences?
A. Compared to my previous teaching experiences, I can say that the faculty and staff here are much more open-minded. My Department Head, Neeti, and our Secondary Coordinator encourage critiques and alternative viewpoints. This is highly refreshing and gives teachers a sense of ownership of their ideas and processes.
Q. What keeps you at OWIS?
A. The students. They’re so excited to be here and have such a thirst for knowledge. With their deep love of learning, they encourage me to expand the parameters of teaching my subject.
Q. Have you had any experiences with particular students that have made you especially proud as a teacher?
A. When I was teaching a class of Grade 7 students, there was a boy in my class who was very disinterested in Science. During a class discussion, he mentioned that his favourite subject was Art and that he hated Science. By the middle of the year, when I had an interaction with his parents during the school Parent-Teacher Meeting, I was thrilled to find out from his parents that this student had requested his parents to buy him books on “How things work?” and similar books in Physics and Chemistry.
I had noticed that this student was more participative in class discussions and seemed to know a lot of scientific facts but did not realise this dramatic change in him, where he kept urging his parents to buy science-based books to know more about science. His father was very happy with this new reading fervour in his son and his hunger to know more about the different branches of science. He thanked the school profusely for creating a platform for this to happen.
The same student went on to read Astronomy, Biology and Forensic Science (outside of class) in the latter half of Grade 7. After finishing every book, he would come to me and share priceless nuggets of wisdom. I treasure every one of these moments, where I learn new things from my students. During such occasions, I feel very proud to be a teacher and to have inspired a student to delve deeper into a specific subject.
I recently spoke with this student who is now in Grade 8. He still loves Art, but now has learnt to love Science too. He mentioned that he was reading a couple of books on Genetics and Astrophysics now. To see the impact that my lessons have had on this young man makes me feel blessed and privileged to be in a position to inspire young minds.
Q. What would you say about the teaching quality at OWIS?
A. The teaching quality is high, just as the recruitment criteria are high. Secondly, there’s a natural tendency for colleagues to share information, skill sets and know-how with one another — not only within their own departments but between departments too. One of our strengths as a team is that we don’t keep knowledge to ourselves but learn from each other and grow as educators.
Q. How is the camaraderie among teachers?
A. In one word — GREAT! That high level of camaraderie also extends to the non-teaching staff and senior leadership team. I’m especially grateful to Neeti, Adam, Melanie and Aparna for all their helpful input and support that helped me settle in so quickly at OWIS. In addition, the logistics team is incredibly kind and responsive to our needs.
Q. How does the school environment make OWIS such a great place to teach?
A. The teamwork among the faculty and staff helps me succeed in my role. I really appreciate how the non-teaching staff makes an effort to listen to our ideas and put them into practice. We all have the same goal — to make OWIS an exceptional international school. The students, too, are open-minded and eager to speak out about their views on learning and life.
Q. How diverse is the student and teacher community?
A. Both the teaching staff and student population are highly diverse. They come from many different countries, speak different languages and practice many faiths. But I’ve been very impressed by the respect they show one another and how they look beyond differences in nationality, language and religion to find common ground.