Keystone Magazine - Page 36

Interview Q: U.S.-style and Chinese boarding programs are very different. Can you please elaborate on your role as Dean of Student Life? What are some of your specific duties and responsibilities? A: For the Dean of Student Life, your day starts early and ends late. The day is not a 9-5 job. The Dean of Student Life is involved in all aspects of school life, both on and off campus. Students will see me in the role of school leader talking to them about community standards, ethics and responsibilities. They will see me as a disciplinarian, when necessary, I’ll be involved in after school and residential life activities and I am responsible to give them gentle reminders when their behavior, attitude or effort needs improvement. I spend time with students in the dorm, and I work with student leadership development programs such as student council and clubs. I work with students in their extracurricular activities such as music, art, sports or afternoon activities. I attend school events like concerts, plays and games. The Dean of Student Life has a presence in all aspects of the life of a school. You must have that sense of how students are growing in school to really do your best as a dean. I am responsible to make sure that every student has not just an educational plan, but a personal plan; one that parents are very involved in and includes future goals and current activities. We hope to assist them in their discovery of what they are passionate about and of things they do not even know that they are interested in. This is one great thing about boarding schools, students have the opportunity to try so many new things, experience different aspects of life and try so many new things. Graduation celebration with advisee, Keoni Colson, from Hawaii, USA Q: How will Keystone help students meet the challenges of the boarding lifestyle? A: This will be interesting. Our dorms are set up so that students will have at least one roommate. We will provide a residential curriculum to help students manage the transition to communal living. At home, they may already have experienced communal life with their parents and grandparents. But getting along with a roommate who may not speak the same mother tongue and who may have very different habits and interests can be a challenge and we will assist students to manage issues that arise. How do you develop new friendships and connections with your teachers or dorm parents? Boarding schools force students to do think and engage in ways that may be new to them. Perhaps they will consider that my way of thinking is not the only way of thinking? I could look at an issue this way, instead. Students have an opportunity to learn new skills from their roommates and hallmates. They might see their roommate studying a certain way, for example, and work to adopt this new habit. Conflicts will occur. There are some times when students do not agree. For example, one student is talking to