Student Focus: Meet IGCSE student Kevin Du

Written by: Andrea Griego, Student Support Coordinator

Kevin Du, an IGCSE student at Century Park campus, has found his passion for language and music in and outside of the classroom. Kevin, a former EAL student, is now leading the YCIS Media team, but also finds time to play and build his own guitar. Although very busy, Kevin was gracious enough to share his story and passions with us.

So Kevin, when did you begin school at YCIS?
I came to YCIS in Year 6, when I was 10 years old.

I hear you were once an EAL student. Tell us more about your journey to English proficiency?
Before I was in YCIS, I spoke Chinese all the time, and very little English. When I came to YCIS in Year 6, I was a terrible English speaker, and I avoided talking to friends and teachers, because I was afraid I would embarrass myself. Learning a new language was not easy, and it took me over a year to go to the mainstream English class. Thankfully I had really nice English teachers who were really patient with me, and taught me a lot over the course of Year 6. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in English speaking now, but I’m definitely getting better.

What is YCIS media for those of us who don’t know?
YCIS Media is a team of students who provide the school with school news. Every Friday, we present a video to the school, going over events that happened during the week, as well as things to look forward to in the next week. We often do interviews with students and teachers, take video footage from school events, and we always try to make our videos entertaining and connected with student life.

Wow Kevin, what a great accomplishment to lead this Media team. I hear you have another passion, music. How did you become interested in music?
I started playing the piano when I was 6 years old. I started learning the guitar in Year 6, and my music teacher taught me drums in recent years. I love playing music, I love listening to music, and the main reason for that is because when I’m stressed, it makes me more relaxed, and gets my mind off of homework and tests. I plug in my guitar and just play around with it. My music teachers introduced me to writing my own music, which is also loads of fun.

Your guitar seems to be very special to you. What was your inspiration for designing your own guitar?
Ever since I started playing the guitar, I got really into it, and I’ve been checking out different brands of guitars for years. It had always been my ambition to build my guitar. We had this DT project last year, where we could use bamboo to make anything we wanted, so I chose to build a guitar. I’m still working on it, but it’s definitely looking awesome.

Good luck with the completion of your guitar. Now for the most pressing question, tell us what is your favorite thing about YCIS?
My favorite thing about YCIS, especially this campus, is that it is a very small community. I quite like this because you can know the people in your class better, and have more time with each of your friends. Each of us also receive more attention from the teachers, and we are provided with more opportunities in different parts of school life. For example, I am quite involved in the music department, and I am always given a chance to interact with music teachers, to play in a group ensemble, and to perform on stage when there is a concert.

Thanks for talking with us, but I have one final question: What is one thing that Primary YCIS students should know about Secondary?
So the one thing I want primary students to know is that they shouldn’t be afraid of Secondary, because you start little by little, no one expects you to be an expert in Year 7. Secondary is a learning process. Just get as involved as you can, try your best in classes, and do the CCA’s that you enjoy.

Staff Focus: Suzanne Vert, K2B teacher

Written by: Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer 

Suzanne Vert is a teacher in the ECE who was chosen to be interviewed for the digital library project she has started this year. It began as a goal she has set for herself within the K2 classroom and it seems that this is taking on another dimension. When I contacted her, her first reaction was surprise and wonder as she did not know why she had been chosen and what she could be sharing with me.

Well, here’s another modest teacher honored to be chosen to be interviewed. Let’s meet Suzanne Vert!

You just joined last year too, just like me! Please tell me what your project is all about. (All well prepared, she shows me the ‘already’ existing library on the iPad)

The idea of this project is to incorporate technology and physical books. Initially, this was for my K2 students to help foster them the love for reading. Also, it corresponds to one of the developmental goals of the Early Years Foundation that we follow in the ECE program.

The principle is as followed: On a bookshelf of 10 books, the student can choose the book that they want and look for the corresponding audio on the IPad. You see? Here is the list of 20 English books and 35 Chinese books that already have an audio attached to their image. They can just click on the image of the same book they have chosen and listen to the audio while holding and turning the pages of the physical book.

Let me show you an example with this book “Where’s My Teddy?”. This is read by three EAL students and they chose “STOMP STOMP” as a sound to indicate when we have to turn the page. Look! This one of the 3 Little Pigs is read in Chinese and they chose a different sound of “PLING”.

Oh! So, this was what the Chinese reading was for! When my daughter saw the poster before Book Week, she immediately told me I had to write to Ms Shen because she wanted to participate and then completed it very fast…faster than her homework J. So, when did you start this project? You have so many books already!

It started a couple of weeks ago. Kathleen had her EAL students doing it in English and they have been enjoying it a lot. Also, as you mentioned students and parents got really excited with the project and this is why there are much more Chinese books for the moment. Sissy had to take down her poster after 2 days since she received so many emails of interest and had to look for a book corresponding to the level of the child. Actually, she even chose some Primary books as there was not enough Kindergarten books in Chinese.

This project has taken another dimension as I am meeting with Dudley Stuurmann, the Secondary teacher who is in charge for CAS opportunities for Year 7 & 8 students and he was talking about students choosing the book of their choice and use Century Park campus recording studio and have them reading with performing voices. We’ll see how it goes.

Wow, so what is the objective? How many audio books would you like to have?

Well, I was discussing with Tania the Primary Librarian and she said was even thinking that we could lend the audio to parents as well in the future! I would love to have a database of 100 books to create a listening centre for the kids during the ECE’s CCL, you know the Class Community Learning we started this year where all the children of the same year level come together.

So where did this idea really come from?

In one of our year level meetings we were discussing options for CCL to offer the children. I really enjoyed listening to a tape player with audiobooks when I was a child. Also, in the previous school I used to work, we had a listening center with audio books and the students enjoyed it. The difference now is that this is digital. The beauty also is that we involve older students to create the audio tracks. I first thought of EAL students, who are still in the learning phase of reading, and they might enjoy this project and have fun with it. So, once I presented the idea to Kathleen, she started with 6 books to prototype and did the recording during her class.

Ok, let’s talk about you now! You said you are American. Where exactly? When did you arrive in Shanghai and what were you doing before coming to YCIS?

I’m from California. I came to Shanghai in 2006. Right after completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, I got a job position at a Chinese Private School where I taught for 8 years before joining the YCIS team.

So after studying medicine, you began teaching…

Haha, yes it sounds a bit complex. It reminds me my interview with Damien! When I came to Shanghai, I was hired for a position as a kindergarten teacher. However, when the school saw that I had studied medicine in university, they asked if I would be willing to use my background to teach science. So, I first taught science in 4th, 7th and 11th grade. However, after 4 years, I was still interested in working in Early Childhood Education and in 2010 began my journey with preschool children. In between, I had my two daughters and took some time off from work. I began working part time for the Community Center Shanghai in Marketing for special events and editing a bilingual cook book. I returned back to ECE in 2014 because I loved working with this age group. At the same time, I began to pursue a teaching credential for K through Grade 6 (Year 7) and graduated while I was teaching.

K2, this isn’t the easiest age-level. Was it difficult to cope with behaviour management?

Actually, not really. I was used to work with students and setting rules. For this age-level, schedules and routines are essential. Once they are clear about these, then, they thrive. We teach them independence and we emphasize on positive behavior management. The children at this age love to be encouraged and rewarded when they make good choices and I’ve found that enforcing that behavior brings out the positive in all the children. They are so eager and excited to learn that they quickly pick-up things. I am a high energy person and I love to make it fun for them so this is the perfect fit.

So how do you see your future? what is your plan now?

Coming from a non-educational background, I am eager to learn more and become a stronger teacher. This profession is incredibly rewarding because teachers are so vital in developing adults that feel empowered and can make a difference. Teachers that are continuously learning to create strong environments for learning are so influential.

This is the age that we begin fostering a love for learning. As an ECE teacher, we help children develop their minds by helping them to ask questions and look for the answers. This is where the process of growth mindset starts. For example, when they just pick a toy, we can be there to help them wonder why did they pick this toy? What characteristics does the toy have? What can they do with the toy?

As an ECE teacher, you learn so much. My main goal is to know if I am encouraging children to push themselves for discovery and answers. I also need to keep learning as I want to be able to provide tools to encourage children to do this. Sometimes, we may not know the answer and we need to take a path to discovery. If we teach children how to find answers, this is a skill that they can take for the rest of their life.

Teaching ECE children is so rewarding. At this age, children are inquisitive; they love learning. If we create a growth mindset, they will always have a desire for knowledge.

In one of our Professional Development meetings, we were shown a video that was talking about the future in jobs. They spoke about how the jobs available now will be gone in 5 years because of how much the world is moving forward. This was an eye-opener for me to realize that these kids will live in such a different world than what we know and that we need to foster the love of learning so that our children can adapt in the world of tomorrow.

ECE is an important time for children to start learning. There are no marks or grades at this time because we are focusing on the process that gets children to the finish line.  I really enjoy the approach the school has with the ECE because it allows children to explore and the teachers are facilitators. Our main goal is to support the children’s learning.

Thank you for your time. It was an amazing experience to discuss with you. I am not only thrilled by the project you have started but I am also impressed by your life path career choice. You proved me again how we should not put people in boxes as every individual is unique and special.

Thailand Trip

Written by: Costanza Cavalleri, Year 12 Student

The Thailand Trip was ten days filled with a roller coaster of emotions. These ranged from the excitement of trying new things, such as when we finally found the results of our river study, to the fear of taking risks, like when we went zip lining, pushing ourselves off the edge of the high platform and sailing through the air, courageously exiting our comfort zones.

12 Days in Chiang Mai

The EOTC trips, which YCIS secondary students go on from Year 7 up to Year 10, and the Seeds of Hope trip in Year 11, prepares students for the Thailand Trip in Year 12. (By then, parents are also prepared for their child being away from home for so long!) Ever since my first EOTC in Year7, I have been impatiently waiting for the Thailand Trip.

The Thailand trip had activities which we had trained up for during the previous EOTC trips. The knowledge, sense of adventure, and commitment to serving others that we had previously gained all came together for one thrilling week and a half. Starting the trip with three days of river studies, we applied our knowledge from the classroom in collecting data from river sites. The Biology students looked at vegetation in the surrounding area of the river, whilst the Environmental Sciences and Societies students looked at organisms in the river. The Geography and Physics students collaborated to measure the flow and current of the river, the dimensions of the river, etc. It was neat to see so many academic disciplines working together.

We then spent the next couple of days carrying out various other activities. The most impressionable one was definitely riding the elephants, as well as the unique experience of leading a vet check on one of the elephants. We also learnt about the history of Thailand, broadening our knowledge and exploring a new subject for those who didn’t study History in IGCSE or IB. The trip ended with community service, in which we helped to renovate a local school’s kitchen, getting our hands and clothes very dirty. Thankfully, we were well fed for our hard work!

This trip not only helped us students grow as individuals, and gave us the opportunity to branch out and learn new things, but it also helped us to grow as a year group. We have bonded and created a strong support system; we are more prepared than ever to help each other through the tough year and a half left of IB.

A Bridge to China and Chinese Culture

Written by Chinese Studies Curriculum Leaders: Cindy Zhang & Joan Chen

Culture is an inseparable part of people’s lives, which influences our values, views, visions, lifestyle and the ways we communicate. At YCIS, we offer Chinese Studies along with Chinese Language as a bridge so that students learn about China as the host country, which has the longest history in the world. Our students learn to understand people’s cultures and language, promote engagement with others and shape their perspectives to support their future which requires a broader cultural and interpersonal mindset as global citizens.

In Primary Chinese Studies classes, students can learn more than 10 different topics and experience the goodness of Chinese culture each year. For example, celebration of various of Chinese festivals is the highlight in Year 1. Y2 students will learn more aspects of Chinese culture from festival customs, ethnic culture, Chinese geography, traditional games, drama perception and etc. Students in Year 3 start to dig into the lifestyle of local Shanghainese. They also have a field trip to the local dim sum shop and Qibao Old town to explore. On the basis of Year 3, Year 4 students continue to learn local traditional architecture—Shikumen, after that students had the chance to take a visit to the real Shikumen architectures and experienced the lifestyle of old time Shanghai in the Songjiang Movie Park. Students in Y5 after they learned Chinese history in class, they had the chance to visit Jinshan village and experience the creation process of peasant paintings personally. Students in Year 6 learn “Silk Road Trade”. After learning, students visited Shanghai Museum to discover the history of pottery.

To compliment our regular curriculum, we also organise some annual events such as Chinese Culture Day and Chinese New Year celebration. These events are great opportunities for cultural-related activities for students and teachers to experience the joy and excitement of their host country’s culture. This year, both our ECE and Primary students join in this celebration. All the students and teachers dressed in Chinese traditional costume and had a wonderful day together. The whole day celebration features folk artists performance (lion dance, acrobatics, Chinese dance and Kungfu), making handmade craft, tasting local food, listening to traditional stories, watching traditional Chinese story animation, playing traditional game, participating in various of class activities… The students’ faces are full of bright smiles and Chinese Culture Day have ended in a thick atmosphere.

We build the bridge to help our students to know more about China and its Culture, whilst accumulate a wealth of their life experience.

Music in ECE

Written by Veronica Martin (ECE Coordinator)

For our very youngest children music is a great tool for holistic learning. In one session outside, the children were given ribbons and music was played through the speakers. The children experimented using the ribbons to accentuate their movement through dance; developing their gross motor and co-ordination skills. They made big and small circles and sang:“Big, big, big, small, small, small,” Through this musical game, the children were reinforcing their understanding of the mathematical concepts of big and small as well as developing the vocabulary in English to articulate these concepts. Some social skills were also needed as the children needed to be aware of others so that they did not bump into each other as they danced. They enjoyed watching each other expressing themselves through dance and started to get creative, each finding their own way to use the ribbon. That is just one of many examples, K3 children have been holding their baby dolls sing Rock-a-bye-Baby K4s learn about beat and rhythm.

Music helps children learn in a way that is fun and engaging. It is a great way to explore language for second and third language learners as they can explore different sounds, rhymes, and sentence structures as they learn new songs to familiar tunes. In ECE we often sing, “Everybody Wash Your Hands” “Sit down, sit down, sit down on the floor” “We are walking, going outside/to the gym/very slow.” Singing a song helps the children understand that there is a transition change and the repetition of the words helps to develop vocabulary.

In the music classes the teachers introduce many new instruments and give the children time to feel them and explore the sounds that they can make on a drum, violin or even a triangle, allowing the children to be successful in playing their own piece of music. Always building upon success and giving children the confidence to move forward in their musical education.

Music is a very important part of YCIS life beginning at K2. Our music director Mr. Nick Adgemis overseas the program with Ms. Diana and Ms. Jeannie working directly with the children. At times, some of our children also go to CP to perform in the auditorium or Mr. Nick will visit the ECE children to help ensure a smooth musical experience. The ECE Children look forward to their classes with either music teacher as together they build a strong foundation of musical appreciation and exploration.

iPads: A Transformative Tool for Learning

Written by/Contributed by: Daniel Horwood (Head of ICT) and Janelle Garrett (Lower Secondary Coordinator)

When we started planning our 1-to-1 technology programme, we started with the learning. At YCIS Pudong, our vision of successful learning is one where students are engagedcriticalreflective, and active. We believe that our choice of iPads reflects this vision, allowing our students to be engaged, to collaborate, to reflect in the moment, and to be active learners, both within and beyond the classroom walls.

All Year 7 to 12 students received their iPads in September, and have been using them to learn in class and at home since then. The ways in which teachers have been able to use technology to personalise and monitor learning, to allow for more collaborative projects, and reflection have been quite incredible in such a short timeframe. As well as the iPads, CP has introduced Office365 and Microsoft Teams, allowing for instantaneous communication, feedback, and collaboration within classes. Teachers have been using a variety of apps to allow students to express their learning and creativity in different ways.

While the iPads are used daily in every classroom across the secondary school, we have chosen to highlight how the iPads have changed teaching and learning in our PE, Mathematics, and Art classes.

In PE, iPads have been used to help improve performance by offering immediate feedback to our young athletes on their performance of key skills. Using a delayed camera app, iPads stream footage of students to the big screen in the gym, which allows our teachers to focus on individual performances and offer feedback that is unique to that student. By seeing their performance, the student can really appreciate the feedback and visually see where they can improve. Above all, it also provides lots a fun, laughs, and enjoyment to our lessons. 

Our Mathematics teachers love the iPads, not for the one super-cool lesson or the big “aha” moments, but for the everyday communication with every student with instant feedback. With the iPads and Desmos (a collaborative graphing app), our teachers can see each student’s ideas and students get to see each other’s responses to problems. There can be fun games attached to these moments, but a lot of times it can even be in the simple act of drawing a line to represent the data and explaining why you put it there. The iPad allows students to gather their thoughts where the teacher can read them privately and share them with the class when they really nail it. Alternatively, sometimes students’ ideas are way off, so, with a flip of a switch, the teacher can make their names anonymous and highlight a few issues to create a class discussion. We can look at student work to see if the overall understanding is there or if there is a need to have 1-on-1 conversations with individuals. In this way, students are less able to slip through the cracks. The safety students feel from typing an answer rather than saying one is a game-changer in our mathematics classrooms.  

In Art, all year levels use their iPads regularly to record and photograph ongoing and completed work. As student work on projects, they regularly save their progress in the Photo Library, creating a real-time portfolio. Our Art teachers are able to see all changes and evidence of reflection and refinements. It also makes thinking visible. Each student’s best ideas can be curated and printed for their sketchbooks, and an overview of their photo library can be used as evidence for assessment. Students also use apps to photograph drawn and painted work, and then apply more filters, which allows students to take risks by trying out new ideas before they rework the physical work. The iPads are also great as a generative tool for ideas working between digital and traditional materials. Having personal devices has transformed our workflow as everything connects more organically. 

Seesaw: Top Tips for Helping your child

 Written by:Melissa Shaw and John McEnhill, Primary Curriculum Coordinators

As we reported in our last newsletter, our school’s Seesaw app is now up and running. Seesaw enables students to share the learning which is going on at home with parents and extended family. Below are our top tips on how you can use Seesaw at home to help your child in their learning.

  1.  Use Seesaw to start a conversation

Parent: “What did you do at school today?”
Child: “Nothing…”

Now you don’t have to settle for this when your child gets home from school! Pull up Seesaw on your phone and discuss their learning, using the pictures as a prompt for you and your child.

  1. Comment on their work

Seesaw allows you to leave comments. Use the commenting feature to ask questions or leave feedback for your child. Try to go beyond “great job”! Asking questions, or complementing specific details can add to the learning conversation. Use the speech bubbles alongside this article as starters for your comments. Seesaw allows commenting in many languages.

  1. Build on your child’s classroom success.

Help to encourage the skills your child is working on in class outside of school: if your child writes a fantastic Traditional Tale, you could challenge them to read it to you in their most expressive voice. Seesaw, when used alongside the Year Level Blogs, can be a great window into the program for you to use when supporting your child. You can also download their work into a PDF to save and print.

  1. Celebrate growth.

As the year goes on, you can use the folder feature in Seesaw to filter work by subject, and you can ask them what they are doing in later pieces of work that they weren’t doing in the earlier pieces.

We hope you enjoy using Seesaw to share in your child’s learning. Please let your child’s co-teachers know if you have any questions about the app.

Student Focus: Anna Xie with YCIS All the Way!

Written by: Andrea Griego, Student Support Coordinator  

Anna Xie is in her very last year at YCIS. She began her YCIS journey in Beijing as a Year 1 student and moved to Shanghai for Year 2. She finished her primary years at the Regency Park Campus and moved to the Century Park Campus where she will say farewell to YCIS in May of 2018. Anna’s years at YCIS have been fruitful. Tim Gartz, the Century Park University Guidance Counselor, says, “Anna Xie just today won a Commendable Award for her performance on the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying test last October and entered the National Merit Scholarship Program. She was in the top 96% of all test takers internationally (one of the top 50,000 out of 1.6million test takers). Anna will receive a Congratulatory letter and a certificate at our next school assembly on November 2nd.”

I was able to catch up with Anna and she was very thoughtful, honest and delightful in her answers to my questions:

What are some of your accomplishments over the years at YCIS?
I’ve been awarded the school’s Theater Arts and IGCSE Art and Design awards, as well as the Wellesley College Book Award and distinctions for Top in China marks in IGCSE Language and World Literature courses.

What are some of your favorite memories at YCIS?
Being part of our school’s drama productions in IGCSE was really fun and meaningful to me, and the connections I made in those casts helped form some of my most meaningful friendships. I’ve also loved participating in World Scholar’s Cup for our school, and this year I had the opportunity to represent YCIS in the debate showcase at the Shanghai event, which was a big honor and really exciting.

What are your secrets for success that you would like to pass on to other students?
Read a lot. It sounds obvious and overused as advice because it is: there’s just no way to get better at using language, which you need no matter what or where you study, without observing how others do so. It doesn’t have to be classic novels or even literature – paying attention to how people communicate in any context can be helpful.

Doing something badly is almost always better than doing nothing at all. You can’t fix, hand in, or get better at something that doesn’t exist.  Stay curious.

What do you enjoy outside of school?
I love watching cartoons, films, and TV shows. I like talking about cartoons, films, and TV shows. I also like to read, draw, and eat.

What would you like the rest of your last year to be like?
It would be awesome, primarily, if I could pass my classes and get accepted to university.

YCIS wishes Anna all the best and we are sure she will see much success in her future.

Staff Focus: Mr David Van Wyk, Secondary Math and D&T Teacher

In this edition, we turn our attention to Secondary at Century Park Campus, and interview David van Wyk. Let’s meet him!

David van Wyk (pronounced ‘fun vake’), I’ve heard you are one of teachers at Century Park  with so many talents. I have been told you are both a Mathematics teacher, a Design & Technology (D&T) teacher, and that you used to be a professional golfer! Please tell me first how a professional golfer can also become a Secondary school teacher at YCIS?

Actually, unlike my friend Louis Oosthuizen, who you may know as the winner of the British Open in 2010, I am not a professional golf player but rather a PGA (Professional Golfers Association) qualified golf coach. Here in China, golfers are usually amazed when I show them my PGA Membership card because it is rare to find a coach with PGA status. When I first arrived I was actually offered a coaching position at the Silport Driving Range. However, I decided against it as the hours were not suitable for our family (my wife and our two little boys) at the time. To get back to your question, I would say that I was at the right place at the right time. CP Campus was looking for a short-term D&T teacher, and I was ready to join the educational sector once again.

What classes are you teaching at YCIS Century Park Campus?
I teach Lower Secondary and the IGCSE programme for both Math and D&T.  I even taught D&T to K2’s and K3’s the last couple of years as they came over from RP on a field trip – what a different experience that was!

How long have you been teaching at YCIS?
We moved to Shanghai in 2013. I was the trailing spouse as my wife (Ms Maggie) was teaching ECE at YCIS. As mentioned earlier, I started off as a supply teacher for Design Technology. As a full-time teacher, I also taught Math as well as Tennis, Table Tennis and Golf for Co-Curricular Activities. This is now my fourth year as a full-time time teacher at CP Campus.

Ok, let’s start from the beginning and tell me about your story!

First, let’s start with golf and your international reputation! When did you start playing?
When I was ten years old, I watched some golf on TV and thought it was quite interesting, so I took two pieces of timber to build my own ‘golf club’ and made a couple of holes in my parents’ backyard. The next day, my father surprised me with a couple of real golf clubs. I remember they were cut-down adult clubs, but they were just perfect; those were the days long before junior clubs became available. Then, you know I come from a small town in South Africa, George, also known as the Mecca of Golf. Since golf is such a popular game in the area, I got to compete a lot as a junior and won many junior tournaments and also represented my Province on numerous occasions. As a student, I represented my university in an International Tournament on The Old Course St. Andrews, Scotland, 2000. I was one of 72 players and managed to shoot the lowest score on the first day in my first attempt on the most famous golf course where the game originated.

And what is this PGA you mentioned about earlier?
This an international qualification that offers many career opportunities. In my case, to become a professional golf coach. I was fortunate because I was able to do my apprenticeship while I was working as a golf coach. I competed in many Pro-Am’s (Professional with Amateur partners) in the region, and I was proud to win a few of those. As a PGA member, I was also given the opportunity to compete in South Africa’s premium golf tour, the Sunshine Tour.

So, what do you teach the students at YCIS as part of the Golf CCA?
We have a golf practice cage on the school grounds where students get the opportunity to hone their skills. I do a video analysis of their swings to allow them to see themselves while swinging. We also do some short-game drills, i.e. chipping, pitching and putting. We even ‘create’ our own mini-course and play a couple of holes on the premises. Our penultimate session is a trip to the Nanpu Bridge Driving Range, and then we finish off our CCA with nine holes on the actual golf course.

Ok, what about tennis? I did not know you were also a Tennis coach.
Oh! Tennis, I played since I was five years old. Tennis was always part of my upbringing and being one of 4 children, we played tennis all the time. One of my highlights as coach was when we reigned supreme during a SISAC tournament, winning all five trophies and bringing them home to YCIS CP Campus.

Alright, now let’s talk about your life curriculum. Your life sounds so interesting!
I completed a degree in Sports Science and a HDE (High Diploma in Education) in Physical Education and Business Studies as well as Mathematics. I also obtained a Post Graduate Honours Degree in Sport and Recreation Management, before working as a College lecturer, teaching Entrepreneurship, Sales Management and Sport Management for one year. Following this, my wife and I decided to move to England, where we worked as supply teachers in London for two years. On our return, I then decided to pursue a career in the Golf Industry and found a position as a golf coach and was able to do my PGA Diploma at the same time.

And where does the Design and Technology skill come from then?
I learnt by watching my dad from a young age. My father is a doctor, but he used to do carpentry as a hobby in his workshop at home. I also took Woodwork as a school subject; I still have my Yellow-wood coffee table I made during my final year. I’ve also learnt a lot from my D&T colleague and Head of Department, Mr Terence Moran. Even though I taught Technology back home in South Africa, it is quite different over here. We are fortunate to work in such well-equipped workshops, and because of the rate technology develops, we get the opportunity to purchase some new, modern and fun machinery. Our latest addition is the CNC Router.

You have two young boys at the school.  What does YCIS mean for you and Maggie as parents?
We are privileged and grateful to have our two boys in YCIS where they have ample opportunities to participate in such a rich curriculum. The boys have developed strong language abilities and can speak three languages fluently. They are excited as they apply mathematical skills to everyday life situations and eagerly share new information learnt in class. Oliver (Y2) and PD (K4) are actively involved in Co-Curricular activities including tennis, gymnastics, chess and running club. As a family, we don’t just wear our YCIS-hoodies to keep us warm, but because we are proud to be part of our school.