Welcome to SIS, teachers!
August is always a vibrant month filled with new chapters and new beginnings. Students are often eager to meet the new teachers but hardly have any chances to do so unless they are in their classes. In fact, brief exchanges of smiles when walking down the hallways or fleeting interactions in classrooms are the only opportunities for students to socialize with the newcomers.
Contrary to the student body at SIS, which is mostly homogenous, the teachers at SIS come from all over the world. Most of the teachers at this school have traveled often, and thus have varied experience living in drastically different environments.
“I used to work at Almaty International School, in Kazakhstan, before moving to SIS,” said Rose Tyvand, high school Biology & Ecology and AP Chemistry teacher. “Throughout my life, I moved around often. As a teenager, I lived in America and then moved to Japan. What is really interesting is that my school in Japan used to come to Korea often to compete in sports tournaments. I used to play with the SIS Tigers and it is truly amazing that I still keep in touch with some of them.”
Although numerous teachers have past experiences in Korea, there are also teachers who are completely new to Korea. Over the summer, these newcomers eagerly explored Seoul by going on tours, visiting traditional sites, and trying popular Korean food. Because the majority of the new teachers are not familiar with the diverse aspects of Korean culture itself, they made an effort to learn about the country before school started.
“I have been to the Gyeongbokgung Palace and the pedestrian shopping streets around the area,” said Alex Weir, high school math and social studies teacher. “At the royal palace, I learned about Korean culture and saw the changing of the guards. Also, it was really interesting to see people walking around the palace in hanboks.”
The scope of answers as to why the new teachers decided to fly across to Korea is extensive. Ranging from wanting to simply enjoy the new culture of Korea to experiencing a change from their previous schools, teachers expressed great diversity in their reasons for coming to Korea.
“Seoul is the first big city I have ever lived in,” said Leslie Gregori, high school English teacher. “Coming from a small town in California, it is really a big difference for me. It is my 34th year teaching, but I have only taught in public and private schools in America. I wanted a fresh change, so I chose to come to this school—the first international school for me.”
Though the new teachers have explored and become familiar with Korea over the summer, the first month of school could still have been challenging. Hopefully, this feeling of remoteness will disappear quickly and lead to a more comfortable life in Korea.
Article by Kirsten Huh