My journey as an educator began on a rainy October night on the west coast of Canada as I stepped off a bus into the wet, dark, parking lot of the North Vancouver Outdoor School (NVOS). I was there for a weekend training workshop to become a volunteer high school counselor for the school’s week long outdoor education program for grade 6 students. Later after multiple weeks as a high school volunteer and three more years of high school, I would move on to be an alumni volunteer who met and trained high school students during the NVOS counselor training weekends. My seven or so years of volunteering under the mentorship of the NVOS teaching staff shaped my core values as an educator. I learned that teachers are leaders, and the best leaders are role models, and they lead through influence and example rather than their authority. I developed a sense that learning experiences were most effective when they were as authentic as possible, involved action, and were experiential. These values have remained at the core of my practice as I took on a variety of positions as a leader and teacher of children and youth from the west coast and Rocky Mountains of Canada, to the isle of Taiwan, the dusty deserts of Doha, Qatar, and finally to my current home in Singapore.
Early on in my career as a classroom teacher I gravitated to the use the internet in my classroom, not for the fancy hardware that was emerging for schools, but for the fact that the connectivity available to learners was a way to create and facilitate those authentic learning experiences that I feel strongly about. I still remember the looks on my learner’s faces the first time I managed to create the capacity in the classroom for them to interact globally. My interest in independently experimenting with educational technology and 21st century learning led me to pursue a Certificate of educational Technology and Information Literacy (CoETaIL); subsequently, CoETaIL opened up opportunities to work as a technology integrator and to teach MYP Design Technology. A move to Singapore allowed me to continue with design, revisit my love of social studies, and has led to my current role as Head of Educational Technology.
Despite my move into more specialised areas, I consider myself a teacher and learner first. I am always looking for new opportunities that will offer growth through mentorship, collaboration amongst my peers, and leadership that embraces the state of change our profession is currently experiencing. In return I bring close to 25 years of experience teaching and leading children and youth; the most recent ten years have been spent as a professional International educator. Those ten years are underpinned by 15 years in less traditional teaching roles ranging from leadership instructor and kayak guide to ESL instructor and mentor to youth. I have always been very fortunate to be able to blend my passions into both work and play.
When I am not at work I share my life with my wife, Sara Thompson. Together, with our twins Thomas and Lucy, we have have made a life as international educators. I have had some amazing opportunities to pursue my passions in international communities. As a guitar player I’ve been able to join a rock n roll band and perform in hole-in-the wall Taiwanese bars, fancy Doha hotels, and the beaches of Sentosa here in Singapore. As lover of the outdoors I’ve been able to ride and hike Taiwanese mountains, roar through the sand dunes in a Landcruiser, and quietly paddle my kayak in a mangrove forest in Northern Qatar. As a father I have been able to show my children the streets of Rome and the Rice terraces of Bali, and few other adventures in between. Being an international educator is an amazing privilege and the Holt/Thompson’s are always ready for our next adventure!