Article by Jan Moreth
With the beginning of the new school year here at St. Mary’s, we have witnessed many changes. At this prestigious school we pride ourselves on welcoming newcomers with open arms, whether they are students or faculty. This attitude is a big part of what makes St. Mary’s a respected international school. This year in particular we have welcomed many new faces into our school environment. One of the new members of our St. Mary’s community is Ms. Lau. With her arrival at St. Mary’s, she hopes to make a positive impact on the school and the students.
Ms. Lau is originally from Hong Kong but moved to Toronto, Canada when she was little. Growing up in Toronto she lived the life of an international student. After finishing her education in Canada she started to pursue a career in teaching. Even though she might be new to St. Mary’s don’t mistake her for a newbie. Before coming to Tokyo she taught in Toronto and Bangkok for several years, instilling her profound knowledge of math and calculus into her students. At St. Mary’s she will be working in the biology department, teaching 10th and 11th graders. When asked about why she likes teaching these subjects, she stated that it isn’t so much about teaching the actual subject but the interaction with the students.
Like many of the new teachers here at St. Mary’s she has also set herself some goals for the school year. One of her end of the year goals is not academic. It is instead to have a stronger bond with her students. Of course she also wants to help them prepare for the I.B. and to teach them to think for themselves, not to rely on being spoon fed information. When it comes to the classroom she likes to approach teaching from a hands on method, which requires the student to be active and engaged in the lesson. Throughout the year she hopes to have many activities going on in the classroom. Her reasoning for this teaching method is that: “I can teach them all they want, but honestly, many years down the road are they going to remember the cell theory? Probably not. What they will remember is how to be good, active listeners and active learners.” For her, the most difficult part of teaching isn’t just grading papers or correcting homework. It’s getting students to think outside the box and to make them more engaged in the classroom.
Ms. Lau is not only new to St. Mary’s but also new to Japan. According to her, Japan is unlike any other country she has ever lived in. Before coming to Japan she was teaching in Bangkok. While she was there she remembers thinking how foreigner unfriendly it had been, but now having arrived in Japan, she has noticed that Japan is on a completely different level than Thailand. “They don’t even have translations at the supermarket!” she exclaimed. Her favorite things to do in her spare time are to travel, to watch movies and to read. At the moment she is reading “The Gift Of Fear”. Ms. Lau is looking forward to a great year and many more to come in the future. Despite her troubles at the supermarket it is safe to say that she is definitely enjoying her new school, St. Mary’s, and her new country.