Each year in October, the THS community celebrates Booktober, a month dedicated to highlighting the value and significance of books in our day-to-day lives. Not just for students, faculty are also engaged As the school engages in activities centred around literacy. Teachers are presented with the task to discuss our favourite book, or the book that most influence us.
For me, it frequently comes down to choosing between two books that have influenced my approach to life - The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. Both stories chronicle the lives of two women, posed in equally precarious positions, doing what is necessary to survive in their society. Both books strike me as a reminder to be thankful for the wonderful life I live, at the same time as being privy of the difficulties life can present to us.
The books portray the protagonists as humble, strong, empowered, and most of all, passionate. They are not presented as flawless and indestructible heroines capable of changing a million lives. Rather, they are relatable characters who are resilient and action-driven within their given environment. They are truly impressive and motivating characters.
As I identify the qualities I admire and find inspiring in the protagonists of these two books, it led me on an introspective journey to ponder on other influencing factors in my life. I can’t help but look back on my schooling days to the teachers who made an impact on me, just as Dr. Jadis Blurton also reflected on in her blog “Why Didn’t you Recognise Me?”. This year, as I take on a new and challenging role at the school, I find myself thinking a lot about this faculty-posed question to discuss our favourite teachers.
I really believe that the people a student connect with every day and hence, are influenced by, are extremely important and can carry lifelong impact. Now, don’t get me wrong; I think the lessons students learn at school, particularly in a progressive, real-world, student-centered learning environment like ours, are impactful and far-reaching.
However, without teachers who truly care and believe in our students, the system just wouldn’t work. At the heart of our community are the people. This is one aspect I strongly believe THS recognises and commits to upholding.
This positive influence is widespread in our school. Be it our awe-inspiring leaders with the passion to constantly calibrate for an optimal learning environment for the student and not the adults to the class teachers who deliver relatable and real-world lessons that spark curiosity toour Centers of Excellence faculty who never fail to create learning opportunities that may just sound zany, but work to extend students’ knowledge beyond the classroom. Everyone is committed to forging the path-less-taken, which can be a painstaking task at times, but a cause we believe is worth it.
Dr. Thomas Armstrong sets out in his book The Human Odyssey: Navigating the Twelve Stages of Life that the ages between 12 and 20 can be encapsulated by passion. With this large chunk of time spent in school, can a student really develop his passion from only learning 123s or ABCs? Do we really believe that all students develop their interests and passions simply by learning to write the perfectly structured essays or from memorising the periodic table?
There are so many opportunities at THS for students to engage in self-driven learning. From Passion Projects in the primary school to Independent Study Modules in the High School, students are mentored and motivated to foster their passions from idea to reality.
So, this Booktober, as I continue to reflect on the narratives that have shaped my life, I raise a glass to the inspiring characters that I am so fortunate to connect with each day at THS. I feel excited to continue this learning journey with you.