7 Questions To Our Visual Arts Teacher - 10 Years At Halcyon



10 Years at Halcyon – 7 questions to Sue Dance

What led you to choose to start a new life as an IB Visual Arts Teacher at Halcyon?

It was an incredibly exciting opportunity for me, it would mean that I would be involved in the inception of a new educational institution. For me, this was a tremendous honour; I was deeply inspired by the prospect of creating something entirely different to what we knew before. It truly felt like a new beginning, filled with novel ideas and opportunities for students to explore and learn.

Could you describe your first day at Halcyon?

It was an exhilarating experience, albeit a bit daunting. We had invested significant effort in developing the curriculum and setting up the school building. Naturally, there were concerns about whether students would enrol. However, we believed we had crafted something exceptional from the ground up, with a fresh vision and innovative collaboration within the IB curriculum.

What has been the most inspiring aspect of your 10-year journey at Halcyon?

Collaborating with my exceptional colleagues has been truly inspirational. I recall the months leading up to our school's opening when we all gathered in a room, the building still undergoing renovations. While we were individually planning our curricula, we discovered natural connections across various subject areas that could foster interdisciplinary learning. Colleagues' generosity in sharing not just their time but also their ideas continue to amaze me.

What is your favourite event at Halcyon?

I actually have two favourites. Firstly, I love attending the Graduation ceremony, which is the year's pinnacle. Witnessing the joy on the faces of our remarkable G12 students as they conclude their school journey, ready to embark on their next chapter, fills me with excitement. Secondly, the Visual Arts exhibition show is a highlight. These annual exhibitions consistently showcase deep, meaningful, and often provocative self-expression through incredible artworks. It's not easy for students to expose their inner thoughts and modes of self-expression. Yet, every year, I am captivated by how they engage with the audience, sharing insights into developing their ideas. I take immense pride in these Visual Arts exhibitions and admire my DP Visual Arts colleague, who continuously inspires the students.

How have 10 years at Halcyon influenced and shaped your career?

Halcyon has encouraged me to be open-minded and fearless in experimenting with new ideas, all with the support of my incredible colleagues. The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the tremendous potential for online teaching. Working with students individually as they utilized their own materials, while I demonstrated skills and techniques through video, kept them fully engaged throughout the process. Collaboration persisted as students kept their cameras focused on their work, enabling everyone to provide feedback.

Is there an aspect of your life at Halcyon you particularly cherish, perhaps something that surprised you?

I was pleasantly surprised by how well I adapted to working with iPads. Our training with this device opened up new avenues for integrated learning, experimentation, and idea exploration in the studio. Whether it's drawing, painting, or playing around with ideas, the iPad has become another invaluable tool for creative expression.

What does being a part of Halcyon mean to you?

Being a part of Halcyon means being part of a supportive team where I have a voice. The sense of camaraderie among our staff makes each day feel like being part of a close-knit family. Witnessing the creative growth of our students in the studio is incredibly rewarding. I also appreciate the opportunity we have to seamlessly introduce students to London's galleries, enriching their experience of the art world. I feel extremely fortunate to be a member of the Halcyon community.