After 38 years of teaching around the world it's almost time to retire and say goodbye to living overseas. This will be my last full time year of teaching and my husband's last year as head of school. It's pretty special to finish it in a country that saw a lot of 'firsts' for both of us. We came to Vietnam back in 1994 when we started the first international school in the country since the war had ended. My husband was the founding principal and this was his first headship. Four other adventurous souls came with us and, because the original school building on Nam Ky Khoi Ngha street hadn't been finished, we began the school year in our living rooms - something we had never done before! We had 25 students and our daughter, who was three years old at the time, was the first student enrolled. We had already taught in PNG and Kathmandu (which is where we had adopted our beautiful daughter) but none of the other four had worked overseas. It truly was the chance and the adventure of a lifetime and, although we are not in constant touch with those that took that journey with us, we get together every now and then to reminisce and reflect on how fortunate we were to be in the right place at the right time for an unforgettable experience that set all of us on great career and life paths. That school is still going strong 28 years later and the school song that Pete and I wrote together all those years ago, is still sung at assemblies!
We returned four years ago to a run and work in a different international school. It is has been a rollercoaster ride with Covid-19 happening but it has still been a fantastic place to be and we feel so grateful to not only be given the opportunity to explore this beautiful country once more, but to also be in a country where the pandemic has been managed so well and where we feel safe.
So, one last trip to Nin Vanh Bay and Six Senses resort this week, and then in July, a trip on the Vietage Train. A fantastic and memorable way to retire! I hope that when travel starts up again you will come visit Vietnam and find it as enchanting and amazing as we have.
It's been a long time in between blog posts! World Language and Literature Week, Virtual Author visits, a bout of illness and end of year school craziness have gotten in the way. But thankfully now we're on holidays there's more time to write, reflect and relax!
In terms of reflection, I wanted to share my favourite books for 2020. They are all by Australian authors and illustrators and I'm really proud of the fact that each one of them are absolute standouts in their respective literary genres and have already won numerous awards. I've reviewed some here under Book Reviews and now that time permits, will get around to reviewing the rest.
I really think our Aussie authors and illustrators are much undervalued and overlooked in favour of American and/or British writers by a lot of international school libraries and I hope that you will look at these and add them to your #musthaves list for 2021.
Great article on the importance of play, music, art and relationships in the brain development of young children.
In both my native Australia and here in Vietnam, remote/online/flexible learning is/was the norm for teachers and their students. When it all started it was a bit of a 'trial and error' time but as closures stretched from weeks to months, online learning became an essential and integral part to teaching and learning. Now that it's been happening for a while, we've been able to take a look at the impact this has had mentally on everyone. Although there are no validated empirical studies out just yet, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence around to suggest not only the need for balance in terms of screen time, but the critical importance of face to face human contact. This TED Tech article sums it all up. Even though it's aimed at adult workplaces, it easily correlates to students, teachers and educational environments.
Zoom Fatigue Is Real - here's why video calls are so draining by Libby Sander & Oliver Baumen.
May 19, 2020 in IDEAS.TED.COM - Tech.