Kelsey Gibb, Secondary Humanities and Business Teacher joins us from Scotland in her first venture into international school teaching. Her warm and caring spirit has already made an impact in the WISS community and especially with her students.
Tell us a little bit about your background and what brought you here to WISS/Shanghai.
I am an only child from a small town called Larbert in Scotland. As a high school student, I experienced a number of influential teachers that inspired me to venture into teaching. I completed my joint four-year business and education degree at Stirling University and spent the next four years teaching in different parts of Scotland. Towards the end of my 3rd year of teaching, I realized that I was ready for a new challenge to broaden my horizons professionally. At this point, my partner and I began searching for international schools that would be a good fit for us. WISS stood out as a school with a caring community and an excellent opportunity to develop professionally, whilst working with some incredible students. The only big surprise for us was that we were moving to China, as it wasn’t a country that we originally researched. We are now settled here and we’re enjoying the experience of living in this amazing city of Shanghai.
What are your personal teaching philosophies?
As a teacher, I try to engage and inspire all students to push themselves and achieve to their full potential. I encourage students to be resilient and to use setbacks as an opportunity to reflect, learn and improve. My main objective is to breed confidence, resilience and a strong work ethic in the classroom and to support students through the sometimes difficult learning process.
Why have you chosen to work within the IB curriculum?
The Scottish education system is going through an extended period of transition at the moment; it is changing from a memory based regurgitation of knowledge to something that resembles a more student-centered style of learning and teaching. When researching WISS and the IB Curriculum, I found that the IB curriculum seems to be a potential destination for where the Scottish curriculum may end up. I was intrigued and excited by the student-centered focus and how it encourages students to take responsibility for their learning from an early age. I like that the student is at the center or all learning and that the emphasis on inquiry allows for more freedom within the curriculum.
Which of the IB Learner Profile do you strongly identify with and why?
Caring – it is so important to show empathy, compassion, and respect towards others. I’d like to think that I can make a positive difference to the students I work with and I encourage them to make a positive difference in the world around them.
What do you enjoy most about working with Secondary students?
I enjoy working with secondary students as I get to be a part of such an important few years of their lives. It is extremely rewarding for me to see the progress made by my students and what they go on to do after they graduate from high school. I love being a part of their learning journey and helping them to achieve their goals and aspirations. It is always particularly enjoyable when I see students entering the field of business.
What aspect of your class do students seem to enjoy the most?
My students seem to enjoy project or scenario-based learning. I give them business challenges in which they need to respond by combining the theory they’ve learned in class along with their creative and critical thinking skills. This is a great way to watch their ideas come to life. It is always interesting for students to have visits from local business people and attend field trips as this allows the students to apply their theoretical knowledge to a real-life business. I hope that this can help foster a spark of entrepreneurial genius in them.
One of the WISS core values is Future Oriented (progressive and pioneering for the future). How do you incorporate this core value into your classrooms? What is your advice to parents as to how encourage this core value with our children?
To prepare our young people for the future we have to take into account of who they are, where they are, and to what and to whom they are connected in order to build the experiences and networks that strengthen their capacity to succeed. I always try to get to know my students well and understand where they come from and where they want to be in the future. This way I can provide support and guidance and tailor their learning experience to their situation and future goals.