Everyone expects students to learn. But good teachers are also good learners. And great teachers are always looking for opportunities to increase their knowledge. Two Hoffman Middle School teachers are excellent examples of these ideals. Soha Nassef and Craig Gantt’s summer vacations included creating plans that enhance learning.
Nassef visited Vietnam, a former French colonial possession. This was fitting for the French language teacher. While in Vietnam, she visited many beautiful temples and towns. Nassef also took part in a “French Tour” of Ho Chi Minh City. She toured the Saigon Post Office. Gustave Eiffel designed and constructed the Central Post Office between 1886 and 1891. Also showing strong French influence is the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral built in the 1880s. To build this famous landmark, Eiffel had all the materials imported from France. The outside wall of the cathedral has bricks from Marseille. Nassef’s travel agenda also included a visit to the Vietnam War Museum. She learned more about the role of France during the war and how French politicians pushed for peace.
The French teacher plans to integrate her experiences in the classroom. Nassef will include her photographs into a culture unit focusing on Francophone countries.
“I came back from my travels with personal stories,” said Nassef. “These experiences will help new students connect to the lessons we study in class.“
Gantt, a science teacher, stayed stateside. He took a car trip through the eastern half of the United States. In total, Gantt visited 17 states. Gantt looked for specific locations and topographies to photograph. He also made 30-second video clips that included explanations and vocabulary for each location. He talked about the interactions between producers and consumers. He also spoke about the benefits as well as consequences of human activity on habitats. His stops included the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. Other sites on his agenda included the New River Gorge in West Virginia and Stone Mountain in Georgia. Gantt also took the seven-mile Lost River Cave tour in Kentucky.
“Travel gives educators a deeper understanding,” said Gantt. “And it can give them more resources or ideas that they can share with students.“
Nassef, Gantt and Hoffman Middle School staff embody the International Baccalaureate ideals. AISD offers the entire IB continuum. The middle school campus offers the Middle Years Program.
Primary Years Program (PYP)
Middle Years Program (MYP)
Wilson Intermediate School (Grade 6)
Hoffman Middle School
Shotwell Middle School
Eisenhower Ninth Grade School
Diploma Program (DP)
Eisenhower High School
IB training helps teachers come up with new ways to make lessons come alive for students. A tenet of the IB program is that teachers make learning interesting. IB teachers commit themselves to their students and learning outcomes. They also aim to promote richness in learning to motivate students by setting a good example. The IB program encourages teachers to use their own experiences to inspire lessons.
Teachers in the MYP work to integrate tools, methods and concepts. The goal is to achieve both new understandings and student success.
Parents can visit the IB Organization website to learn about the rigorous international standards. There are several benefits for students. For instance, IB students develop strong academic, social and emotional characteristics. They are also likely to perform well academically. Students in the IB Diploma Program are likely to enroll at top universities. Students in the Primary Years Program and Middle Years Program do well too. They tend to outperform other students in many areas.
The benefits don’t end when students graduate from the Diploma Program. The alumni network connects them with one another. Members have opportunities to connect with graduates from all over the world.
IB teachers like Nassef and Gantt show how essential teachers are to the success of the IB World School. Teachers who love what they do use their expertise and enthusiasm to inspire students.
See images from the teachers’ travels and inspiration.
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