My Family and My Passions
Sixteen years ago, I moved from my home in Saskatchewan, Canada, to Japan where my mother was teaching English. Fortune found us jobs at Aoba International School where my mom taught Grade 2 and I was offered the Kindergarten posting. It was her last year and my first year of full-time teaching. My mother had been a Kindergarten teacher for most of her 27 year career, so being mentored by her throughout my first full year was magical and taught me more than one could ever expect.
That same year, I met my partner, Brian Malone. Brian was finishing a five-year stint in Japan as the head of the English department at Aoba International School. He already had a job at ACS Egham International School for the following year. We decided to take a chance, move to England together, and I was also offered a job at ACS Egham as a Pre-K Teacher.
For two years we enjoyed working at Egham, living beside Windsor Great Park, traveling around Europe, and connecting with Brian's family throughout the UK.
We missed our life and friends in Japan, so we searched for jobs and found teaching positions at Tokyo International School. I taught Kindergarten there for three years (including my maternity leave), and Brian was a Middle School Generalist for two years. Our son John was born during the middle of my second year at TIS.
Both Brian and I value parenting and take that role very seriously. We made the financially difficult, yet emotionally easy, decision to have Brian take the third year away from teaching at TIS and parent John full time. Five years later, when our second son Ben was born, Brian was able to stay at home with him as well. The close relationship that the boys share with their dad has come from that valuable time spent during those formative years.
Nine years ago we threw the dice, gave up our jobs, and entered the job fair with open minds and a sense of wanderlust. We were happy to go anywhere! We excitedly accepted postings in Moscow at the Anglo-American School.
At AAS I have been the Early Years Team Leader and a full-time Pre-K Teacher. Brian has taught Humanities in the middle school and IB DP English. AAS has been an extremely supportive environment where Brian and I have grown both personally and professionally. Our school was there for us when our family faced overwhelming challenges shortly after Ben was born. AAS is not an institution, but instead an extended family that we have felt so privileged to be part of.
Ben, our second son, was born in Moscow and is now turning five. He is with me in Pre-Kindergarten this year. I fog up the windows trying to watch him on the playground when I'm not on duty. He swims like a fish, loves to make things with his glue gun, and likes to sneakily spy on his brother. He loves to be surrounded by his 'buddies' and is constantly making playdates for himself. He is working on building the Lego Town series, all the while safeguarding the creation from a two-year old neighbour friend who is keen to get his hands on it.
While in Japan I developed an obsession for ceramics and fell in love with the process of creating pottery. I gave gift after gift of lumpy bowls and mugs until I managed to hone in on some skill. I try to get into the studio as often as I can and look to take courses each year at MISSA - an art school held on the campus of Pearson College UWC during the summer months.
My love of sculpture and hand building ceramics led me into thinking about natural building. Brian, John and I took part in a cob-house building course on Vancouver Island. It was fascinating to find out how these traditional types of building techniques are used and the work and time that goes into the builds. More people in our world live in homes like these than the 'to code' homes that you see in developed countries. I hope to build a studio or structure one day for our family and look to continue learning about natural and sustainable homes.
I love playing the guitar. I was given a guitar about 15 years ago and have since learned every song that would put a crowd to sleep! I'm no rocker, that's for sure! I mostly play the mellow music that I love as well as a variety of kids' songs that keep the classroom children singing. My mother taught me how to play the ukelele and loads of kids' songs that are perfect for the classroom - my son is my biggest fan.