A school education can only be as good as the teachers who provide it. At International School Bangkok (ISB), we invest heavily in selecting and developing world-class teachers, while putting them at the heart of everything we do. We know that true learning goes far beyond the confines of course work and test preparation, which is why our teachers go the extra mile to provide a holistic education for every student.
By showing the path forward, setting a positive tone for childhood, and giving students the right guidance to develop their character, the exemplary teachers at ISB leave a lifelong impact on the hearts and minds of young learners. This integrated approach is vital, as the central task of a school is nothing less than to shape future generations – the men and women of tomorrow.
At ISB, we feel that an inclusive focus on personal development means valuing and assessing each student’s diverse range of skills and abilities, while also inspiring them to envision a shining future. Our teachers work creatively with their classes, using a variety of meaningful and engaging opportunities to help every young learner achieve genuine intellectual, humanitarian, and creative development.
By embracing ISB’s school values and attributes, our teachers ensure that every student’s needs are individually met. Their success here – together with the approach of continuously challenging learners and inspiring them to reach higher – has helped to make ISB one of the top international schools in the world.
ISB’s Teacher Spotlight series has provided us with an opportunity to convey the deep appreciation we have for our amazing faculty. We profiled remarkable teachers whose work makes ISB a welcoming home for learning. This group represents only a fraction of our extraordinarily talented and dedicated team. ISB teachers bring a wide range of skills and backgrounds to our campus, and we wish we had the space to profile all of them because they make ISB the phenomenal school we are.
To bring the series to a close, we invited the principals from our elementary, middle, and high schools to reflect on the teachers and education at ISB – and what it is like to work with such a unique and talented community of educators. Their responses were fascinating, and we include them here as a testament to ISB and our commitment to excellence.
Kelly Armitage (Elementary School Principal):
‘In awe’ describes my feeling about the teachers here at ISB. Every day I see what an impact they have on the lives of children. Research and educational literature are consistent in saying that the most influential factor on learning is the quality of the teacher. Our students are incredibly fortunate to have the highest quality educators guiding their learning and improving their wellbeing.
Besides being top professionals, our faculty are amazing human beings. They live the ISB vision of enriching communities by supporting a myriad of special projects to help others within and beyond our school. These projects were some of the most striking things our family noticed when we came to ISB in 2008. As parents, we immediately witnessed our own children immersed in service learning and being part of a global community. These experiences have helped shape them into the young people they are today. We are so grateful that ISB teachers supported our children in this way, and in so many other ways.
When I ask students in the Elementary School what they love about ISB, they express many things that paint a picture of joyful learning. One of the most common responses is the resounding shout: ”My teachers!” I feel honored to work alongside such outstanding educators, who work every day to make a difference in the lives of the children at ISB.
Dennis Harter (Middle School Principal):
In any school, a child’s teacher plays the most important role in ensuring great learning for your child. Research and instinct both indicate that when a child connects with a great teacher, they learn better. Teachers build relationships with students, getting to know their strengths, passions, and interests, along with how they learn best and how to accommodate their needs. Teachers model what learning looks like for their students, sharing how they grapple with difficult ideas, solve problems, and interact with each other.
As education professor Todd Whitaker says, “The best thing about teaching is that it matters. The hardest thing about teaching is that it matters every day.”
Teaching is hard work and our teachers thrive on this responsibility. To support them, we ensure common planning time with learning specialists and content teammates. We encourage ongoing professional development along with wellness and balance. We know that teaching well requires being well.
Diversity is a strength of International School Bangkok (ISB). In the Middle School we regularly emphasize the uniqueness of each year group, knowing that it is our many differences that bring us together and make us strong. Interacting and learning from each other engages our students in global understanding and empathy. We strive to know and celebrate each other’s cultures as part of a rich multicultural school environment.
As a former international school student and Third Culture Kid myself, I knew at an early age I wanted to be a teacher at a school like ISB. I saw the value in mixing with other cultures, focusing on learning, and living in a wonderful host country. Now with over 25 years in international education, as a Middle School principal in a wonderful community like ISB’s, I am convinced that this education and lifestyle will produce the leaders we need for the future. Having worked in Indonesia, Malaysia, Austria, and Thailand, I know that ISB is a terrific school for our own children and a top place to be an educator.
Justin Alexander (High School Principal):
ISB’s global reputation amongst the international school community, ISB’s importance on developing the whole child, and the diversity of the ISB community were all key reasons for our family to make the move to ISB and to Bangkok in August 2017. Fortunately, our experience on the ground has matched ISB’s reputation and we are all very happy here at ISB.
In my role as High School Principal, I have been fortunate to be able to work alongside a professional, experienced and caring team of ISB High School teachers. Whilst ISB’s world class facilities, outstanding educational and technology resources, variety of curriculum offerings all add significant value to a student’s experience at school, by far the greatest impact on student learning and growth is due to the teachers in the classroom. As I visit classrooms and engage in discussions with ISB teachers, it is obvious that they want what is best for our students. They lead and guide our students to be adaptable, creative, globally minded and value driven whilst preparing them for the future.
ISB’s Teacher Spotlight focus shared stories and tales about some of our teachers’ work with students, and the qualities that make them great teachers. Whilst we cannot include all of our teachers in these articles, I would like to put the ‘spotlight’ on all of them. Our teachers are committed, thoughtful, and excellent. I value the work that they do every day with our students (your children) in making ISB a better place, and for helping our students grow.
How ISB selects and develops its teachers
Every institution is an expression of its own values and how closely it adheres to them. When bringing in new teachers, we check carefully to ensure that they share our values of care, integrity, commitment, gratitude, courage, balance, respect, and responsibility. Our screening process is a demanding one, and with key roles, we pay special attention to the thoughts and opinions of our students before making hiring decisions.
Selecting the right teachers to join our program at ISB is vital, but it is only half the story. Every teacher is given a generous professional learning allowance each year for their own development. Our teachers also receive continuous feedback ensuring that they continue to grow, learn, and develop their skill sets. ISB additionally offers in-house teacher training and development programs, because we believe that there should always be opportunities to learn valuable new approaches to education – and share in each other’s learning and evaluation techniques.
This commitment to professional excellence has opened the door to a new world of creative teaching ideas, many of which have been featured elsewhere in this Teacher Spotlight series. Such initiatives make the student experience at ISB entirely unique, put our campus resources to great use, and add variety to our educational approach.
Maintaining an exceptional standard for our teachers also brings rewards which affect learners on a human level. Students look to teachers for guidance and support in all areas of life, absorbing lessons on how to act, how to treat other people, how to build their own identities, and how to build positive involvement with the surrounding community. Our teachers and counselors help students with any questions or concerns they may have, ensuring that the school always offers a safe and supportive atmosphere.
Our teachers come from a diverse set of cultures and backgrounds, and do their utmost to create a welcoming environment for every student. This diversity also allows ISB to offer a wide range of clubs, activities, outdoor challenges, and other special opportunities for student enrichment. These signature programs cater to students of all language levels, interests, talents, and abilities – encouraging them to lead balanced lives that are both healthy and active.
Of course, academic studies represent a large part of the student experience as well, and ISB consistently outperforms worldwide international school test score averages by a large margin. Our teachers are experts in their subjects, with vast experience in making their lessons accessible, enjoyable, and inspiring for learners of all ages.
At the same time, ISB’s commitment to inclusion is evident throughout the school. Students with intensive needs receive special attention, with lessons that are carefully adapted to their own abilities. These efforts are led by our teachers’ passion for the universal power of education, and the personal development that it inspires.
Teachers, counselors, and other leaders at ISB provide further support in other areas. College preparation is essential for many high school students, while community activities teach cultural lessons, and the heads of our sports programs push students to achieve their athletic goals.
Every activity at ISB, no matter how small or large, is closely connected to our core learner attributes and values. We believe that each of these is central to our identity as an international school in Thailand, and helps shape the experience of our students. Ultimately it is our teachers who must carry the torch for these values every day, inspiring students to adopt them as well. We are eternally grateful for their work in kindling a true love of learning among our students, alongside a balanced and healthy worldview.
As each new ISB graduate goes forward into the world, they carry with them a beautiful tapestry of ideas and interests, weaved together with a great curiosity for new lessons and meaningful experiences. They also bring memories of their school and their classmates – as well as their teachers, whose guidance and support helped them grow into the positive, well-rounded people they have become.
Teachers are uniquely placed to help young learners meet their true potential. The world-class group of instructors at ISB continues to excel in this regard, and we heartily endorse our High School principal Justin Alexander’s call to put the spotlight on all of them.
Nevertheless, our teachers often remind us that the best reward isn’t the spotlight itself, but rather the light that shines in a student’s eyes when they are truly inspired by a lesson. In honor of these magical moments, and all the hard work that makes them possible, we offer our heartfelt thanks to the entire team of ISB teachers. They have made our school a wonderfully exciting place, where positive values and personal success combine to elevate the student experience, and ultimately create an environment where our students can feel they truly belong.