Interview about IVY academic principal | to let students acquire knowledge through experiment and in
John Hamill, who graduated from Newcastle University with a bachelor's degree in medical microbiology and immunology, followed by a master's degree in education. He taught and served as the academic director of an international school in Hangzhou for many years, which ignited John's passion for teaching and science. After coming to Ivy international school, John served as academic principal and teaching biology. During this period, John have done academic research for many times, and founded Eco-Rep Club, which leads students to carry out extracurricular activities such as the anatomy of finless porpoise and the production of organic fertilizer,etc. These activities help students improve their academic background and also promote the school's quality.
01 What makes you choose education as your career?
John: I had from a young age, always taken pleasure in sharing my knowledge with people and had been told that I have both the patience and ability to explain difficult concepts when people are struggling. As such, my career advisor suggested to me during my own high school education that I consider teaching in the future. However, at the time I did not take his advice. Instead, I followed my love for biology, and worked for a few years in the Clinical Diagnostics industry only to find my passion lay elsewhere. As such, in 2012 I decided to move my life to China and finally begin my teaching career.
02 What do you experience when working at Ivy international school?
John: After working in Hangzhou for 5 years, honing my teaching skills and developing managerial experience, I made the move to Shandong, Weihai and IVY school in January 2017. I began my service in IVY as the biology teacher for students taking the A-level course. At that time, there wasn’t an IGCSE course and I was keen to get one started. By the beginning of September 2017, we had established 3 new Biology classes, MS9, IG and AS-Level. After a year of service, I was given the honour of representing the school in a new position as Deputy Principal. I am now currently serving as the Academic Principal.
03 What abilities and qualities do you think a good teacher should have?
John: A good teacher can inspire hope and interest in their students for their subject and the extra curricular activities that they lead in the school. A good teacher is always prepared to go the extra mile, to present content in such as way that is relevant and engaging for students. When thinking about the qualities of a good teacher, I am reminded of the quote by William Arthur Ward,“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
04 What do you think of the relationship between teachers and students?
John: The relationship between student and teacher is a complex one, so I will only mention three aspects of the teacher-student relationship. Teachers on one level represent the parent figure. By spending a large proportion of time with the students throughout their academic career, teachers provide advice and moral guidance that helps to shape the students outlook and personalities for life. Teachers also represent social justice. How a teacher implements their behavior management in the classroom instills values; a sense of fairness or inequality in their students - this aspect of teaching presents the biggest challenge for many teachers. Teachers also represent the friend figure. Teachers and students become close, sharing many experiences together through each semester, sharing highs and lows, solving problems together and learning from each other.
05 Can you talk about the feature of Ivy teaching and management from the perspective of International education?
John: At IVY, we endeavor to provide a healthy emphasis on not simply a sequential presentation of ideas and concepts, rather provide an active and continual constructive process to education. We adopt a student centric pedagogical approach to promote higher-order thinking skills and foster collaborative learning. Engaging learners in experimental learning, they have a personal stake in the process enabling them to connect to the material and thus become truly educated. From a management perspective, the faculty also embodies the ideals of the prominent scholar John Dewey “Education is life itself”, by engaging not only with instruction but also through continual professional development and collaboration.
06 A lot of Ivy students are accepted by famous overseas universities. How do you think Ivy make this?
John: The international experience and expertise provided by our teaching staff provide a plethora of knowledge and teaching methods for IVY students. The benefits of having teachers from varied locations around the world expose our students to different perspectives and points of view, enabling the development of a rich 21st century objectivity to the world, necessary to foster the leaders of tomorrow. Up to date teaching methodologies such as fostering a ‘culture of error’ in the classroom; students are encouraged to voice an opinion, even if it is wrong. Strong academic instruction through CAIE programs; extra curricular activities promoting engagement in the scientific method and personal development culminating in ASDAN, INTEL ISEF and STEAM competitions - students become strong, independent individuals with a sharp and informed opinion on the world around them. Additional guidance throughout the application process provided by our College Councilors ensures full and professional personal statements and university applications. The result, competitive students attaining placements at top universities.
07 What impressed you most in IVY?
John: My fondest memories at IVY have to be those surrounding the founding of the ECO-REP club and the dolphin dissection. It is heartwarming to see students so engaged, so motivated to take action surrounding the issue of environmental protection and conservation. The world has many problems; economic, political, ethical, racial – but the environment truly unites us all. I truly hope that this next generation can learn from our mistakes and take better care of the earth, so as their children can enjoy a safe, clean, healthy and productive world, into the future.
08 Can You talk about your feeling of Weihai?
John: I enjoy living in Weihai very much. Regarding the previous question, I love how Weihai represents that clean, and safe environment I mentioned. The location of our school is of particular delight for me. Arriving on campus each day to blue skies, white clouds and the beautiful coastline and sea never gets old. I appreciate it every day.
09 Is there something like advice or encouragement to Ivy students?
John: To the students, I would like to say this: Find out what you enjoy in life. Get involved in the extra curricular activities and events taking place on campus. Get some hobbies. Studying can seem monotonous at times, I agree. But when you decide to enroll at university and come out with a major that can get you a job in a sector that you have a passion for, going to work does not feel like going to work. That’s why it is important that you find your passion. Be proactive. When you leave high school, no one will be forcing you to do your homework or engage with your peers. Education really is life itself, and you should grab the opportunities presented to you with both hands and leap forward into your future with pride and energy. I know that you all have special interests and talents inside of you, you just need to find and unleash your potential – and then, nothing can stand in your way.