Primary and secondary teacher at the Phorms Campus Hamburg: Joking in Japanese
What did you do before you joined Phorms?
I studied music in England, during which time I spent a year abroad in Colorado. Afterwards I went to Australia and played piano in hotel bars in Sydney. But I’d always wanted to be a teacher, and I decided to move back to England to study teaching and do my Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). After that, I spent five years teaching English in Tokyo. Alongside my work I started organising an English comedy show with a close friend, which has become quite well known. I then worked for two years in a private school which specialises in dyslexia and autism in London. Afterwards, I spent a year as a music and theatre teacher at a primary and a secondary school on the Malaysian island of Penang, before moving back to London to work in a grammar school. I came to Phorms in Hamburg in August 2015, where I teach music and theatre to years 5 to 10.
How did you come to be a teacher?
Like many people who are now becoming teachers, I wanted to teach because I myself had great teachers growing up who supported me when I was at school. I think teachers play a major role in the development of a child’s personality, or can at least have a huge influence. I remember the head of my primary school, who loved music and theatre, encouraging us a lot in these areas. My friend Daniel and I were inspired to organise a comedy show to raise money for a charity event. It was a big success and we did a show in front of the whole school. That was when we were just eight years old.
What is your experience of interculturality at your campus in Hamburg?
I sometimes like making jokes in Japanese for the Japanese students – but that’s also just to show off a bit (laughs). I discover new things and learn about cultural backgrounds every week with my students, and I’m really impressed by how they speak multiple languages with such ease. We learn a lot from each other as teachers as well, and we’ve even started sitting in on each other’s lessons.
Are there particular teaching concepts that you use in your everyday teaching?
I think it’s important to reflect on learning. ‘Learning about learning’, you could say. For example, you can split one exercise on one lesson topic into lots of small exercises. In England, you’d say ‘must–should–could’; you must, you should and you could complete certain exercises on a certain lesson topic. The students then have to gauge for themselves how far they want to go and reflect on their learning process. This also means that you can better accommodate the individual strengths and weaknesses of each child. I tell my students over and over that no teacher is ever going to judge them for not understanding something – failure is part of the learning process.