This weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year. Our school, a co-ed day and boarding PK – PG independent school, hosts an annual international dinner. This year there will be 21 tables set up in one of our gymnasiums with students serving food from their home country. The list is impressive – France, Russia, Czech, Hungary, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Spain, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Italy, Holland, India, Greece, USA, Venezuela & Germany. Many of these meals are prepared on campus in the kitchens of dorm parents and campus faculty members who live in homes that the school owns. This year, we will host China in our kitchen. Last year we had a contingent of Taiwanese kids and we have also hosted a Saudi boy and Thai scholars in our kitchen over the years. It’s a major event and I often see people at the dinner who are alumni (especially our international alum) and people who have retired from our school coming back to share in the lovely food and companionship. It’s hard to get my little ones to try too much in the way of adventurous food, but I tend to stuff myself silly. The students preparing the food take such joy and pride in their work on this day. The students eating have so much fun and the conversations are lively at the tables. Overall, it’s just a wonderful day.
I’m now in my 4th year here and I made some adjustments in my life coming here. We live in one of the boys’ dorms and I had not lived in a dorm since I was 20 years old. My wife had never lived in a dorm. I was asked to teach AP Stats – a course I had never taught before, so I went to a summer workshop and worked hard to learn the material. I have been asked to teach Calculus BC which I had not taught since the 200-2001 school year. I am learning (still) to teach in classrooms with speakers of many different native languages. I’m a wordy math teacher, so this has been a challenge for them and for me. I love it here and I’m excited about the future of our school and of my department. We have a new STEM curriculum initiative. We launched it this year with a trimester sequence of science courses that ALL of our freshmen take. Next year we are looking to expand to create some upper level STEM electives. We are looking to expand our robotics program and infuse programming into more areas of our school instead of simply in our AP Computer Science class. We are hiring a new teacher under the STEM umbrella and we envision that this new teacher will teach two math classes and two science classes. I have a departmental colleague who came out of retirement from our local public school system five years ago when we were in need of a replacement teacher in the spring. He’s done a great job anchoring our Precalculus courses, but he has decided that it is time to retire again. So, we’ll be looking for a new teacher there as well. New faculty members are always cause for excitement as we infuse new ideas and new energy into our school.
If any of this sounds appealing to you, you should check out our school at http://bit.ly/1dMbDQl