To celebrate teachers’ day, we asked a cross-section of teachers some questions to share their thoughts on meaningful moments in their classrooms and their careers to give you insights into the teachers at the Canadian International School of Beijing.

We asked, what do you think is the most challenging or meaningful part of your work as a teacher?

 “The most meaningful is that my days are never dull. I have a vibrant group of students, and they keep the classes interesting. I also feel supported by the leadership to try new strategies in my classroom. Risk-taking is encouraged, and it allows students to experience different kinds of learning opportunities.” – Leila Rabord, French teacher

“For me, the most meaningful aspect of my work is my students’ happiness and growth. I love when my students are engaged and have a big smile on their face. It means a lot to me to see my young students learn how to build friendships and play fairly while showing empathy towards each other.” – Emily Charbonneau, Kindergarten Teacher

“One of the most meaningful aspects of my job is seeing people grow. This applies not only to the students that I teach but to the teachers that I work with within my department. Seeing someone go from needing your help to confidently leading others is incredibly meaningful.” – Maggie Graham, Department Head of Language and Literature, Theory of Knowledge teacher

“The most meaningful part of teaching is seeing students celebrate their successes after setting goals and working hard at them. While it can be challenging to have students go off and explore several different topics around our central ideas, the foundational skills we teach set a strong base for them to work from. It’s fun to see then how each student aligns the learning goals with their interests!” – Katrina Schmudlach, Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher

“Seeing students reach a higher level of language when they had struggled in the past always gives me a strong sense of satisfaction and happiness. Seeing a student who arrived in grade 6 with a low level of English to be confused for a native speaker of English just two years later is so awesome I can’t even describe it.” – Robert Hambrook, Department of Head Language Acquisition

“Teaching is a meaningful career. Watching your students grow as learners is fantastic. There is no greater reward than witnessing a student’s ‘light bulb’ moment.

As a teacher, you get to inspire and educate young people. One day your students may become Nobel Prize winners, top business people, leaders, prime ministers and great artists or well-rounded individuals with a love for learning.Of course, teaching can be a challenge. For instance, every student who walks through my door is different. There is a built-in way to handle this challenge that all teachers use. It’s called differentiation—meaning to put as many ways of learning into a lesson as you can.

Each day you get to work with inquisitive young minds eager to learn and share their ideas with you. As a result, teachers become influential in students’ lives, inspiring and motivating them to achieve their potential.” – Richard Bartlett, Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher

Do you have any suggestions for students who would like to study at CISB or parents who would like their child to study at CISB?

“Trust the process. Some who had never studied in an IB school might not quite get what it’s all about until they actually do it. Also, make the most of the ASAs offered at the school. There’s something for everyone, and that’s when I notice the friendships really take shape, and the discovery of hidden talents begins to fester.” – Robert Hambrook, Department of Head Language Acquisition

“You absolutely should come to learn with us here! We suggest asking questions and engaging with your environment! The best learning comes from thinking about how things are and came to be! We call these the key concepts, and it guides all our questioning (change, causation, perspective, etc.)” – Katrina Schmudlach, Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher

“CISB is a positive environment full of compassionate teachers and reflective learners. I encourage parents and students to be open-minded and courageous when it comes to our learning environment. We invite students to step out of their comfort zones and try something new, whether auditioning for the school play or challenging themselves in academics. Come to school with an open heart and open mind, allowing yourself to grow in both social-emotional ways and academic ways.” – Emily Charbonneau, Kindergarten Teacher

What qualities or abilities do you think most excellent students have?

“I believe attitude is more important than ability when it comes to learning. Curiosity is such an important quality. The best students are interested in just about everything. They ask questions and look for answers; they enjoy thinking, discussing, debating, and reflecting on knowledge. Learning is fun, after all! If you like to learn, you will do well in any endeavour because you will acquire the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.” – Maggie Graham, Department Head of Language and Literature, Theory of Knowledge teacher

“This is something I ask students on the first day of lessons! I appreciate academically honest students who put their full effort into their learning and respect their peers and the school. This attitude carries people far.” – Elsa Chan, English Language and Literature Teacher         

“We all learn differently, and each student is unique with their own particular qualities or abilities. In general, the most excellent students can work independently but also can collaborate in a team, can problem solve, be principled as well as risk-takers, communicators and are open-minded to explore new things.” – Richard Bartlett, Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher

“Excellent students are organized, self-disciplined, and communicate well with their teachers to get feedback, help, and support. They are resilient and display a growth mindset as they understand that success is made of failures. They persevere, and they are consistent.” – Leila Rabord, French teacher