Steven Heere

Steven Heere

Steven Heere

Position in School: Grade 1 Elementary School Teacher

Nationality: American


What year did you come to YIS, and where were you working prior to YIS?
In August of 2020, and I was teaching in Hong Kong for 5 years prior to joining YIS.
What sports/non-academic activities are you involved with at school?
I led both outdoor learning and soccer Extracurricular School Activities last year. 

What do you love about the subject that you teach?
Within an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning, I appreciate how students are actively involved in leading learning, constructing meaning, building connections, and collaboration all occurring within authentic contexts.
What class or grade activity in the last school year do you enjoy the most, and why?
I enjoyed it when the Grade One students planned and led small workshops that focused on their passions, interests, and skills. It was incredible to see their confidence grow during these workshops as well as their overall skill development. 

How would you describe the IB Program, and its value, to parents?
Within an inquiry approach to learning, learners are receiving a superior educational program that not only focuses on academics but also concepts, skills, attitudes, action, and reflection. Also, the IB Program focuses on personalized learning, student agency, and self-efficacy which enables learners to develop a more fulfilling, meaningful, successful, and impactful life. 

What is one positive surprise about your students that came about from the shift to Continuous Learning last spring?
I was extremely impressed with the manners, etiquette, and ability to focus by children during our online meetings. I was also impressed by the creative talents, design skills, and ability to reflect and articulate thinking, processes, and steps by our Grade One learners when it came to open-ended, free inquiry, or project-based learning engagements.

What are your passions and interests, and do you have opportunities to incorporate them in your role at YIS?
I'm passionate about outdoor learning, environmental education, makers education, and science. I find these areas fit in extremely well with our Grade One Units of Inquiry, the culture of YIS, the learning spaces at the new campus, the IB, and there are many wonderful parks close to our new and current campus for learning in these aforementioned areas. 

What do you find attractive about YIS, and Japan?
I appreciate the smaller classroom sizes, integration with the local culture, emphasis on community and well-being, and many aforementioned areas about YIS. In Japan, I really enjoy the food, travel, trains, tea, history, design, architecture, nature, seasons, hiking, surfing, language, people, manners, and culture. Japan has it all!

What profession would you like to try aside from teaching?
I would love to be a General Manager of a sports franchise in charge of drafts, making trades, contracts, etc. That would be a dream job! 

Who in history would you like to meet with and why?
The person I would like to meet is still living and my childhood hero, Allen Iverson! I love his heart, mental toughness, life story, passion, and he's a legend in my hometown of Philadelphia.

What advice would you give to teachers looking to work in Japan?
Spend lots of time, energy, and investment in continual professional development. It will make you more attractive to schools, and of course better at your profession. Also, research the areas of emphasis at the schools you want to work at, and take courses in those areas.