International schools: creating a culture

TES | November 10, 2019

Imagine a new school is preparing to open. Several teachers arrive in Hong Kong, their new home, ready to create new learning spaces and plan for the year ahead. They have three weeks to get settled and prepare to welcome their first students. And then something happens.  A series of typhoons hit Hong Kong, delaying the construction of the new school. The school isn’t accessible to teachers until only a few days before opening. This is what happened to Stamford American School, Hong Kong. Fortunately, there is a very happy ending, as we put this downtime to good use. Without access to the school, the practical aspects of preparation were put on hold, allowing the team to focus on creating a school culture. The rewards have been far-reaching. Inspired by Peter Drucker’s advice, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, time was spent discussing and developing culture during our first three weeks before the first term started. As a new school, people and relationships were also new. This newness, combined with having time, provided a unique opportunity to think about the culture we would create.

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