by Giles Pinto, High School Vice Principal and IBDP Coordinator
Twenty years ago, I was an Assistant Language Teacher on the Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Programme, beginning my long journey into learning about this ancient culture and fascinating society. It was at that time when I first encountered the travel writings and essays of Pico Iyer, who currently resides near Kyoto. One of his observations deeply struck me, as he noted, “For more and more of us, home has really less to do with a piece of soil, than you could say, with a piece of soul.”
Iyer was describing the phenomenon of the ‘global soul’ and this resonated with me due to my life experience. Like Iyer, my family background is Indian and — thanks to my father’s career in aviation — we moved across regions and continents; before arriving in Canada, we spent time in Pakistan, Malaysia, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
When I left the JET Programme, I knew I wanted to be an international educator. It therefore made perfect sense that I would do my training for this in the Toronto area, surrounded by the most diverse population in the world. Inspired by my first Japanese adventure, I completed an M.A. in Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. I officially joined the IB world a few years later by securing a position at Branksome Hall, one of Canada’s leading independent schools.
As a teacher in the DP and MYP, I always aimed to cultivate international mindedness in my students and I brought a multicultural perspective to my M.Ed. in Counselling Psychology — also done at the University of Toronto. As a new father, I looked forward to possibly providing an opportunity to explore the wider world to my twin daughters, Gabrielle and Joy. When that chance arrived with an administrative role at an international school in The Bahamas, I immediately took it with the enthusiastic support of my wife, Marlene. In a sense, due to our many travels in the last several years, we are now a family of global souls and we are delighted and excited to be joining the well-established international community at YIS.
As the High School Vice-Principal and DP Coordinator, I see it as my role to help develop the next generation of globally minded leaders, whose expertise and passion are needed now more than ever. We are fortunate at YIS to have a team of committed IB educators who are themselves well-travelled and worldly — drawing upon their personal backgrounds and life experiences as they aim to inspire their students.
Engagement is crucial in these difficult times, when young people and their families need to adjust to a variety of learning models. It is also critically important that as professionals, we recognize the added challenge to our students presented by the rigours of the IB curriculum. To help ensure lifelong success for all of our YIS Dragons, we need to devise learning experiences that make them feel at home in the world, wherever they might be living, learning or leading.