1) What’s your name and what subject do you teach at FH?
My name is Henry Hsiao and I teach Grade 11 and 12 English. I also teach English Language Learning courses at FH.
2) What’s special about the way FH teaches their students?
I think FH encourages progressive education for international students in Canada. We have a genuinely diverse student body. In my classes, I often have multiple students with different first languages, which makes the classroom energetic, multicultural, and unexpected in the best way possible. I also know that the administration and leadership staff emphasize the importance of knowing the students holistically, and encourages their teachers, myself included, to get to know the students as full individuals. Teachers at FH understand that a well rounded, healthy life is a necessary condition for a successful academic career in high school.
3) What was the most memorable moment of your career?
In my fourth year of teaching, which is relatively young compared to some of my veteran colleagues, one of my most memorable moments happened in my second week of teaching at FH. It was at the end of the lesson and my students have just completed their short stories they wrote as an assignment. The short stories are nonfiction and had to be a true story of their life. After class, I started reading their stories, and the more I read them, the more I felt I got to know them. Sometimes, as a teacher, you learn so much more about a student through their assignments than you do anything else. It’s such a joy to read something that the students took lot of care in writing.
4) Would recommend FH International High School? Why?
I would recommend FH International High School to anyone looking for a real, international classroom experience. FH is an example of progressive education taught by teachers who care about their students’ live as a whole. I also think that FH’s commitment to relatively small classroom sizes allows teachers like me to align the curriculum to each of my students’ goals.
5) To you, what does it mean “to be a teacher”?
I regard teaching with a sense of social duty and citizenship. Reflective teachers understand the enormous role they play in shaping not only a student’s experiences in high school, but also their beliefs, ideas, and skills that they will bring into their adulthood. As a teacher I’m aware that I’m part of their growth as citizens as much as academics. But I also accept the part-time parental role teachers inherently are. I fully believe in the idea that “it takes a village to raise a child,” and teachers are a crucial part of that community necessary to raise children into adults.