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Two Gatherings – two ends of the same thread

Two Gatherings – two ends of the same thread
Jonathan Field, UWC Thailand Secondary School Principal

Alum UK Meet-up and IB Global Conference

“Remember that time I took hotel slippers, added loads of Duct tape to the back and claimed they were closed-toe shoes…”

“Remember those three months locked down in the boarding house – and how much fun it was to be locked together with all our friends…”

“Remember that time on Project Week…. Oh, Kru Jon maybe we shouldn’t tell you that story…”

The UWC Thailand alumni meet-up in London was full of snippets of much longer stories. It was a gathering full of joy at seeing each other and sharing old stories, of laughter at collective experiences at UWC Thailand that span graduating classes, and a sense of gratitude that although many of our alum are at university (and some have graduated and have jobs) they all share a deep appreciation of their experiences with us.

The IB Global Heads conference in Dublin the week before the alumni meet-up was another chance to meet up with colleagues old and new from across the world. To share stories, ideas, and hopes for the future of education.

The most reassuring part of connecting the stories of our alumni who had lived their UWC Thailand experience and the hopes of the educators and decision-makers determining the future of the IB was that we are already doing many of the things that the IB and other educators want to develop across all schools.

 These two gatherings were also a reminder that as we continue to do incredible things, we need always to look ahead and frame our conversations around how we continue to build on what we already do.

  • The IB conference focused on how schools could prioritise staff student flourishing - so how can we continue to prioritise flourish in line with our ‘Good Heart, Balanced Mind, Healthy Body’ motto.

  • The IB wants schools to build better community engagement – so how can we continue to strengthen the robust and long-term community partnerships we already have?

  • The IB wants partner schools to support them in challenging the educational status quo to drive educational changes – so how can we continue to be a school leading the way in supporting the IB to prototype change – above and beyond the four educational pilots we are already running in conjunction with the IB.

  • The IB wants to build ever greater student agency – students driving their own learning. The stories of our alumni reminded us that we are a school built on a culture of creating unique experiences to support our kids to learn and take action - is there further we can go with this? 

The two gatherings were a timely reminder that we as a school do a fantastic job of helping our students become incredible human beings… and continuing to find ways to do this better is a goal not just for us, but for IB schools worldwide.

The work that we do as a school is often most visible in our alumni years after they have left Phuket - and based on 3 hours with alumni in a London coffee shop, we have been a significant part of helping these young people to approach the world with kindness, understanding and a true desire to make a difference. They continue to make us proud.

 And no…. Hotel slippers with Duct tape on are NOT closed-toe shoes…