A Fresh Start: Welcome to 2017!

A Fresh Start: Welcome to 2017!

January 6, 2017

At the beginning of another calendar year, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all members of the ISF family returning from the break over Christmas and New Year. I hope that 2017 will be a year of good health and good humor, a year of challenges overcome and success achieved, a year of milestones reached and new goals set for the future. At the end of year that brought so many changes globally, we will no doubt all be seeking a clear path ahead in the coming days and weeks. The New Year offers each of us a fresh start: a chance to regroup, rethink, and resume.

An important event on the calendar for members of the school management team usually takes place over the coming weeks between Christmas and Spring Festival: the annual teacher recruiting fairs, held in different parts of the world. To the uninitiated, these events can be overwhelmingly taxing and stressful for all concerned. Important decisions are being made by schools about the teachers who are to be invited to join a school community in August; and by teachers about where they intend to spend the next few years of their professional journey. These decisions impact on lives in many different ways: the impact of a teacher in the classroom is well documented, and can have a positive lifelong impact on a child; the impact of a new culture and a new school community on a teacher can also be life-changing (and we have some colleagues who have spent quite a few years at ISF who can attest to the far-reaching personal impact associated with signing an employment contract!).

It should therefore come as no surprise to read that school leaders, including the Head of School, school principals, deputy principals, and other managers, spend considerable time at job fairs and place great emphasis on getting staffing decisions right. While we do not want to be away from school, our absence at various times over the next few weeks is important for the future of our school. Judicious talent selection is one way in which we can have an impact in every classroom in the school.

In these past few years, we have built a remarkable team of educators who are wonderful classroom practitioners, highly committed to our unique school mission and its values, and inspiring in so many ways for our students. The very high retention rate among our teachers is a strong indication of their shared commitment to our school and the professional satisfaction they derive from teaching our young learners. They are highly engaged at the center of all learning that takes place in our school. They reflect the very best of what we aspire to be as a learning institution.

As we seek to find just a few „new hands‟ to join the ranks of our experienced educators in leading teaching and learning in our school, it is fittingly ironic to acknowledge that the task of finding new teachers who can match the high standards being set in our classrooms becomes more difficult each year. This is a wonderful dilemma to face.

I wish each of you every success in your personal, professional, or academic endeavors during 2017!

Dr. Malcolm Pritchard
Head of School

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