Just as starting at a new school can be a transformative experience for young people, starting a position in a new workplace can bring challenges as well as opportunities for teachers at Halcyon School .
We sat down with three of our 2021 joiners to find out what they have to say about their journey at Halcyon so far - and we couldn’t have been more inspired by what they shared with us. From fond memories of student initiatives to excitement for future projects, the insights we gained from Ms Lodhi, Ms Rautavuori, and Mr Robinson can be treasured by our whole community.
Halcyon School's Community
Dr Sabahat Lodhi, IB MYP Science and DP Chemistry Teacher
“Our strength is in our community - at every level.”
Dr Sabahat Lodhi joined Halcyon in August 2021, teaching students across the whole school and welcoming green-minded young people to our Eco Committee, which she supervises. For Sabahat, the sense of community is what makes Halcyon special.
“The staff are supported in the staff community, and new students are welcomed by their peers across all grade groups, which is wonderful to see. It is this sense of connection that drives academic success at Halcyon: when young people feel understood and cared for, they thrive.”
Sabahat is keen to add that this feeling of ‘thriving’ extends to staff as well as students. “It feels like we all embrace the idea of lifelong learning together - it’s not just something we say, but something we see on a daily basis.”
A commitment to lifelong learning means that our teachers enrol on a variety of professional development courses, alongside thinking about the best ways in which they can bring new ideas and initiatives to our school community.
Sabahat smiles as she begins to divulge more information about her plans for next term. “After COP27, I’ll be working on International Women’s Day for Women and Girls in STEM - and in true Halcyon style, it’s going to be bigger and better than ever before with students’ help!”
We asked Sabahat about her favourite memories at Halcyon so far. “My favourite memories? There are so many! Our student Eco-Committee is always so full of energy and innovative ideas, and I was particularly blown away in our first meeting - their ideas and passion to make a difference was incredible.”
As Sabahat continued to tell us about her standout memories of Halcyon, it became clear that Halcyon’s students form an unforgettable part of our teachers’ experiences on campus. “They continue to astound me every session. Our annual debate day - particularly last year’s event - as well as last year’s School Show theatre performance will always stay with me: in both events, students demonstrated an incredible amount of enthusiasm and resilience.”
Halcyon School's Culture
Sandra Rautavuori, IB MYP PHE Teacher
“At Halcyon, everyone is encouraged to be themselves, and is celebrated for who they are.”
Sandra Rautavuori, one of our MYP PHE teachers, highlighted Halcyon’s culture as something that she has valued since her very first day at the school.
“Halcyon’s culture is community-based and so accepting. Everyone is friendly - and it feels really special to know that everyone knows each other in one way or another.”
Sandra added how Halcyon had encouraged her to think beyond her current responsibilities as PHE teacher to plan how she might add to the life of the community next.
“I’m looking forward to being a mentor this year. Mentoring is a great opportunity to build relationships with students, and, having completed the cognitive coaching course, I’m looking forward to putting what I recently learned into practice. Hopefully I’ll soon be able to see the benefits of this training on students and the community at large.”
Halcyon School's Creativity
Leeman Robinson, Marketing Leader
“It’s been a year since I started at Halcyon School, and I remain impressed by the diligence and attention to detail of this relatively new educational institution.”
Leeman Robinson, Halcyon’s Marketing Leader, spent some time with us to reflect on how he felt when he first experienced classroom learning at Halcyon
“I sat in classes and rekindled some lost knowledge of geography, but I also experienced a whole new kind of learning. I learned new things about the use of the English language via the study of film - something that would never have happened in my own education. When I compare what I experienced in Halcyon classes to my own conventional British education, I felt somewhat cheated!”
Leeman thoughtfully recalls some of his other memories of Halcyon classes. “I visited an IB Spanish class where students were asked to design and create a board game. The instructions were to be written in Spanish, and they had to present back to the class entirely in their language of study - nothing like my experience of undertaking French at secondary school, which consisted of reciting phrases scribbled on the chalkboard!”
Leeman explains that it is the diverse and engaging teaching styles of Halcyon that make it such a special place to work in - as well as the dynamic role that the students play in building community life. “I find what students do here really inspiring. They often curate whole-school assemblies, organise fundraisers for charitable causes, and even create costumes for the school show. I’m currently working on a campaign to mark the school’s ten year anniversary, and one student offered to produce a bespoke logo to mark the occasion. It’s wonderful to be surrounded by so much agency from young people.”
We asked Leeman to summarise his impressions of Halcyon School. After some thought, he answered, “I am confident that anyone who encounters Halcyon School for the first time will feel that it’s an educational institution like no other.”
3 reasons why we’re all trained in Cognitive Coaching
Moving school: 3 ways our newest students were surprised by their Halcyon experience
IB Student Profile: Lola, Grade 12, on the Diploma Programme