Dripping with passion!–a phrase that best describe the people I worked with today, a phrase that used to describe me, and words to describe what I hope to get back!

My morning started off with a visit to Fazlani L’Academie Globale to attend an IB Asia Pacific regional visit. These visits usually focus on the diploma programme, which isn’t my area of interest. But today, Mignon Weckert and Kathy Derrick, PYP (Primary Years Programme) regional managers who are dripping with passion! when it comes to learning and the PYP led more than half of the meeting. PYP Coordinators from all over India flew down to Mumbai, and the kindergarten room we sat in was charged with excitement, burning questions, and a passion for teaching students! It’s good to be in the company of like minds.

When I returned to school, the fifth grade teachers pulled me into their room and we put our five heads together to try and come up with statements to help students build on their inquiries and conceptual understandings. Yup, I know a lot of jargon. Let it suffice to say that we pondered on concepts, words, learning. It was very much like trying to solve a puzzle.

Time stopped. Nothing mattered outside the four walls of S’s class. Nothing mattered except student learning.

That’s why I’m in education.
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I was very impressed with the art work in Fazlani. The focus was more on expression and creativity, rather than technique, which to me, is the purpose of the art. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Fazlani's first grade students created this ostrich to communicate awareness on the ill effects of junk food.

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A year and a half ago, I scribbled this tweet–

I had only worked for five months in my current school that September, and my goals as a curriculum coordinator were very clear: to invest in the professional development of teachers and to obtain international school accreditation.

We got our accreditation (PYP authorization) last December! And I promise to tell that story in another entry.

So going back to that late September in 2010, right before our pre-consultation visit from the IBO, I remember thinking that I can’t rush this process. Together, as a school team, we needed to break the soil and build a good foundation. By that I mean we needed to be clear on our educational philosophy and what practices we would use to live out that philosophy. So much of our hard work for the past years have been to unpack key words from the International Baccalaureate mission statement, the guiding principle of our school. Here are two paragraphs from that statement–

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

As a leader, I always believed that the best way to teach is to model. I’m hoping that those are the seeds I’ve planted with the people I work with. I strongly believe in the IBO mission statement, and I hope I have modeled being an inquirer, knowledgeable and caring. I hope that I’ve respected the culture of the people I work with as well as shared a little bit of my own. I hope that it is apparent that I don’t know everything and I am still learning along with everyone else. I also hope that I have at the very least, listened to various perspectives, and shown that I’ve valued them.

These are the seeds I hope I have planted, my investment, not through my words, but through my actions.

My latest line which I know makes me sound like a broken record when I speak to the teachers I work with is–That’s why my investment is in you!

Many of them already live out the IB philosophy and I’m hoping that they continue to collaborate and be inquirers, knowledgeable, caring, open-minded and authentic, not just to the students but to each other. That’s how I’ll know that I’ve been successful as a leader.

So, it’s my last six months in Mumbai, and writing is definitely helping me transition to the next chapter in my life. It is also the end of a season, and I remember Pastor Joey saying–Never fight the seasons. Embrace them.

Here’s a poem from Ecclesiastes 3 that helps me embrace whatever season I go through–

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

That September in 2010, that was the time to plant.