What drew you and Nehemiah to Keystone?
We have lived in Asia for 9 years and Mandarin is our children’s second language. Hence we wanted to work in a bilingual school so our kids could advance their Mandarin skills. Keystone was the best fit for the family in terms of a residential program and the bilingualism.
What areas of Humanities do you enjoy teaching most and why?
Humanities within the MYP is an integrated course. Hence teaching modules can be developed over multiple disciplines. As an educator, specific skills like research, communication and critical thinking become an enjoyable part to teach in the course because once students acquire the skills, the knowledge can be accessed and applied in unfamiliar settings.
Keystone advisors are a distinctive and outstanding feature of the school when it comes to each student’s individual growth and development. At Keystone, advisors are the gardeners who enable students to grow into mature persons. Can you give some examples of how you as a mentor help make school life meaningful?
Advisory groups are key to the life of students at Keystone. Through these small groups students form bonds with each other as well as with the supervising teacher (advisor). One strategy I employ with my advisees is to set weekly goals. These are not restricted to academics but also encompass the different aspects of their lives at Keystone. Every Thursday, we review the goals set in the previous week and measure our achievement level using a spectrum. When they fulfill the goals then they set new goals. Those that have not fully met the goal get a time extension or re-evaluate and review the progress. This activity instills a sense of accountability and fosters reflective skills in my students.
With your three children (6,11,17) enrolled at Keystone, what do you consider the benefits are for them receiving an education at Keystone? And what challenges do they encounter coming from an international school in Singapore?
An education at Keystone means that my children get to see Mummy and Daddy frequently and if not, then there is the reassurance that we are somewhere close by. This may sound petty but for my children it is quite comforting. An education at Keystone means that my children receive a highly subsidized education which is an investment, bearing in mind that they are taught by educators who are experienced and value their commitment to the school. They are also benefiting from an immersion system that gives them the opportunity to practice a language they do not speak at home.
The biggest challenge for them is the feeling of not fitting in because of the exclusion they perceive as being a minority in the student population. Nevertheless, as a family we have adopted a quote from Keystone’s own advertisement campaign, “Why fit in, when you were born to stand out?” This is the philosophy we want them to embrace.
Describe Keystone as your home away from home for you and your family? What advice would you offer an incoming teaching couple with children? Are there any activities on offer at Keystone that provide faculty with an opportunity to work out and socialize?
As an international educator, home for me is not my country of origin but where my heart is at rest. As a family we have embraced Keystone as our home. It’s not only the physical aspect of home, but also the sense of belonging. We have settled well in this small, yet diverse community. There are a lot of activities you can do with your children on campus. Sporting facilities are accessible to all. Shuttle buses are organized over the weekend to take families for shopping and other entertainment activities.
The communal feeling is evident during meal times and beyond. There are evening get-togethers where families meet over a glass of wine while the children watch a movie. The different social media chat groups are helpful in motivating and informing people on what is happening. More importantly, the faculty members and their families are very inclusive. Kudos to existing faculty for making our settling in a painless experience.
Secondary School, Humanities Teacher