I moved to the UK this summer, relocating from Toronto, Canada, to start as a High School University Counsellor at ACS Hillingdon in August. International recruitment and relocation can be stressful, and coming from almost the other side of the world to a new job, a new city and a new school, is always a challenge.
This was my second experience of international recruitment and relocation – I grew up in France where I completed my degree in Counselling Psychology, then moved to Toronto to start my first job at a French international school as a University Counsellor. Here, there was little relocation support or resources and although I settled in well, it took some time to get used to the various different systems and processes.
My recruitment and relocation experience here at ACS Hillingdon has been entirely different. Rather than attending various recruitment fairs, I applied directly to the school via email in December. As I progressed, the recruitment process made me confident that the school was right for me. I had four interviews in a week, including various Skype calls, which gave me a comprehensive overview of the school and the staff.
At ACS International Schools, we’re committed to developing the best teaching and learning practices. As part of this, the ACS Centre for Inspiring Minds (CIM) aims to transform the ways we understand teaching effectiveness and improve learning outcomes through action research.
Action research is based on practical classroom experience. At CIM, we invite teachers and educators to come forward with ideas on how to either improve a ‘problem’ they have identified within the teaching and learning experience, or an idea which can lead to the delivery of better teaching and learning.
Postcards from Practice
This year, CIM presented a Celebration of Learning, entitled Postcards from Practice, where project leaders fed back on current research. Postcards from Practice provided a glimpse into our CIM projects and the journey behind the action research taking place here at ACS.
ACS Hillingdon recently hosted the ISST (International Schools Sports Tournament) Softball competition, it was exciting to see over a hundred girls from eight different schools compete and make new friends.
The Softball team is just one of 35 different sport teams we’ve had at school over the last year. Extracurricular sports provide an opportunity for students to have fun, socialise and compete in their hobbies and develop lifelong skills which benefit them both in the classroom and beyond into the world of work.
Students spend a lot of time in doors, extra-curricular sports can help promote general well-being. We have a year round programme featuring an array of sports to appeal to all age groups and interests; from swimming and rugby in Autumn; cross country and volleyball in Winter; and tennis, softball, golf and baseball in Spring.
Research shows that leading an active lifestyle improves sleep, increases metabolism, and develops self-esteem. It’s a simple way for students to improve their physical, emotional and mental health.
We’re proud of our varied extra-curricular sports programme at ACS Hillingdon. There is something for each student – whether they want to compete seriously in inter-school tournaments, or if they just want to blow off some steam and have fun with their friends.
Practicing mindfulness cultivates awareness of thoughts and feelings.
At any given moment, we have many thoughts running through our mind: I need to pay that bill! What will we have for dinner? We often find ourselves functioning on autopilot, going about our daily routines without real awareness.
Practicing mindfulness cultivates awareness of thoughts and feelings so you can make positive changes based on your realisations. You might, for instance, realise you’re feeling tired. In response, you may decide to reschedule an important meeting or take a few minutes to do a breathing practice beforehand.
Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us. It can also give us a better understanding of ourselves and others. Mindfulness brings about long-term changes in mood, levels of happiness and wellbeing. Scientific studies have even shown that mindfulness prevents depression. It positively affects the brain patterns underlying day-to-day stress and anxiety.
When applied in schools, mindfulness increases children’s self-esteem, concentration and overall performance. It impacts their ability to get along with others and helps them to cope with stress. Mindfulness is an acquired skill that can make a positive difference in our lives.
Last year I was approached by a group of high school students interested in starting up an after school tech club. How could I refuse?
Just over 25 years ago my own interest in technology was sparked as a student of ACS Hillingdon. After choosing the ambitious name “Advanced Technology Club” we set out on our first project. The “iPad Classic” is a hollowed out beige Mac Classic from 1990 with the screen replaced by a stripped down 1st generation iPad. It really is a piece of functional art and now sits in our Technology Museum to inspire younger students.