Teacher Spotlight: Imagining the Possibilities of Education
- Posted in
- on January 12, 2017.
Ms. Kristina Simons has taught HSB4U, HHS4U, CGC1D, and CGW4U with VHS. Kristina’s career began after she completed her Master’s in Critical Studies in Education in 2012. She then began teaching at an international school in Dhaka, Bangladesh to a small group of grade 5 and 6 students. There, her eyes were opened to a whole new culture, one that made her question her own ways of thinking, doing, and feeling.
She next traveled to many South Asian countries and learned much that has had a profound effect on her, even to this day. She tried things she never could have dreamed of including racing rickshaws and wearing saris to traditional Bangladeshi weddings. Kristina supervised a student-led project called 50 People, 1 Question. In this project, students asked 50 passers-by on the street and in a nearby park “If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?” Kristina notes that this was a beautiful experience.
After living in Dhaka, she moved to a Canadian international school in Beijing, China where she taught English in grades 6, 7, and 8. After becoming very interested in Eastern philosophy, she was better able to understand Mandarin/Chinese culture. This wonderful year was filled with amazing people, food, and culture. This experience also introduced her to inquiry-based learning, something that seemed to complement her teaching approach and philosophy.
Kristina then began working at an international English school in Stockholm, Sweden, teaching mainly refugees and new immigrants who were between 13-16 years of age. This dynamic group of students had much to teach her and were genuinely open to learning. Though international teaching was an amazing experience, Kristina missed home and contemplated the next career path she should follow. She soon returned home and began working with VHS. Kristina has enjoyed the exposure to new learning and teaching experiences. “Imagining the possibilities of education is incredibly exciting!” Kristina says. She now also teaches religion and social sciences at the high school level in the Bruce-Grey area. She loves the area, especially the outdoors and being close to Lake Huron.