Last day of school: Celebrating one full academic year at VISS!


So, today is the last day of school for the teaching staff! I’m super-pumped because I have an amazing summer planned and it’ll be awesome! But I also like to use this day as an opportunity to reflect on the year: What progress have I made? What challenges have I faced and how I overcame these challenges? What lessons have Iearned? And also use it as an opportunity to celebrate my achievements!


Firstly, what progress have I made and what achievements can I celebrate?

  1. Having moved to and settled in a NEW COUNTRY and NEW SCHOOL! Moving schools is challenging enough, imagine what it’s like in a completely new country?
  2. Having built excellent rapport with the students at VISS and established meaningful relationships with them.
  3. Having successfully directed a middle-school production.
  4. Having created two iTunes U courses.
  5. Having delivered two presentations at the SPARK Conference and a workshop to the school staff. I generally enjoy delivering PD to teachers.
  6. Having launched my own website and online teaching portfolio.
  7. Having made great friends and become part of a supportive and diverse community of teachers.


Secondly, what challenges have I faced (and overcome)?

  1. Directing a production requires establishing contact with local suppliers for making costumes, buying/building props etc. That was a challenge for me as I was in a new city and in a new country.
  2. Changing the students’ perceptions of ‘drama’ or ‘performing arts’ from viewing it as an ‘activity’ to viewing it more as a ‘subject’ that adds value to their learning journey at school.
  3. Balancing between my commitments to the Arts faculty (as a performing arts teacher) and the Humanities faculty (as an Economics, Global Studies and Humanities teacher).
  4. Balancing between building rapport and relationships with the students but also establishing boundaries. This is a challenge I face quite often, and I sometimes need to be clearer about which lines cannot be crossed and set clearer boundaries, so that I am ‘friendly’ with the students, but not wanting them to see me as their ‘friend’.
  5. Staying positive at times where I had some tough struggles in my personal life, particularly this year.


Lessons learned?

  1. It’s ok to let go of control a bit in the classroom and allow students to have some fun in drama. I’ve been described by a fellow staff member as the ‘strictest drama teacher’ they’ve ever seen! I have to admit, I can be a bit of a control freak and I need to relax a bit more in a subject like drama. I have even tried to give students more ownership of the lessons and got them to organize warm-up games and performance activities.
  2. Have fun with productions! They can be stressful and very testing to anyone’s patience, but again there’s no need for being too controlling and it’s easier to just let go for a bit and enjoy the process (with its ups and downs).
  3. I am stronger than I think!
  4. Hard work always pays off!
  5. Everything really does always fall into place, even if it falls out of place first!

Mr Mo, I could not be any more proud of you! Now go out there and have a great summer!