Keystone Magazine - Page 21

Q: How will you monitor, assess and ensure the quality of Keystone’s Bilingual Immersion Program? A: Trust and good communication with the teachers is the key – I have to trust the teachers that they are going to do what they are supposed to do and that they are communicating with me and among themselves. My work as an administrator of the primary school is primarily to support teachers and student learning. I expect teachers to struggle because of the challenges they will face, but my role is to help them find a solution so that learning becomes more fun and meaningful for the students. The teachers that we are selecting will understand Keystone’s mission, our vision and that they are a part of it. So I hope that our teachers will be excited about what we are creating. They will know, first and foremost, that it is all about the student, and that we are here for the student, not the individual. This attitude will shape the way we communicate to each other. It is critical that teachers are open to receiving advice from other colleagues, and even students. This is the only way that we can improve. And even if we think things are well, there is always room to do better. It is difficult for me to physically monitor every single teacher. So the question should not be about whether or not I am monitoring, it should be more about how can we encourage our teachers individually, and as a team, to openly welcome the process of sharing and communicating what is going on in their own classrooms. This is not easy to accomplish, but we will set high standards for our teachers from the very beginning. Teachers should expect that I will be there to support them if something is not happening in the classroom the way that they would like and celebrate successes with them. Q: Will primary school students participate in after-class activities? How will Keystone optimize its gymnasium, art space, libraries and other world-class facilities to support a student’s development? A: We will have many activities after school because they provide excellent opportunities for children to learn something other than academics, whether it be teamwork, communication, leadership, or time-management skills. Participation criteria will depend on age. If a student really likes martial arts, or playing an instrument, for example, they can join the school team, or band. Other activities may include student council, yearbook, debate, drawing, music, swimming, P.E., track and field, basketball, and soccer. We have afterschool activities every day, and some will depend on students’ interests. I am also hoping to have project days. We might do a very detailed project, which takes two months to complete, for example. When the project is completed we will invite parents to come listen to the kids explain the projects to them. In the past, I have done a foundation year class painting project, which was a mosaic of what the class did. We put that paining up for auction and it was interesting to see the parents bidding for it. These types of after school activities can be held throughout the year. “Every one of our teachers will be trained to be a language teacher.” Q: Who or what has made a significant impact on you as an educator? A: When I was in grade 6, I have observed situations where students would come in with limited English and not receive the same sensitivity as native speakers from the teachers. The teachers could not communicate with these students and they were bullied by other classmates. I saw two years of this behavior. I had a lot of friends who were placed in the Z, lowerlevel, or as they called it back then, dumb-level classes. Some of them even got dumped into special education classes. One friend in particular never went to college because she was identified as special needs up until grade 10. She always thought of herself as being dumb, even though she was completely capable. I told myself that I wanted to become a teacher and help these kids. I did not think about other careers. Their situations and the treatment they faced st X