Venturing into the literal wild, new staff leave the safety of their monkey-less roads and tackle the great unknown we call Woodstock. The Woodstocker caught up with some of them to chronicle the first chapter of their adventures
“We feel very much welcomed,” said Mr. Agustin Silvadiaz, the new Middle Years Programme (MYP) Spanish teacher, when asked about his first days at Woodstock.
Coming from Venezuela with his wife, Ms. Maria Rodriguez, also an MYP Spanish teacher, he was a professor of Spanish literature at the Central University of Venezuela.
The couple was drawn to Woodstock when they went to an international school fair in Boston, where they saw Woodstock alumni talk about the school.
“She looked so confident. We had a great impression of her,” Mr. Diaz said.
Furthermore, the idea of “outdoor education, the values of the school, and becoming both international and Indian,” appealed to both of them.
Moreover, they both realized that this school was the ideal place for their children, who are both in Early Years and “are happy here.”
Ms. Rodriguez was warned that the first three months in the hills would be challenging due to the gloomy monsoon. However, during their first weekend on campus, she found it to be “beautiful and remarkable.”
Adjusting to a school like Woodstock, which has a close-knit community with old traditions and customs, can be difficult.
“Getting into a new school is hard and overwhelming. If you don’t have that kind of that support, it is tough,” Mr. Diaz said.
Hence, he added how they were both so lucky because of the amount of help that they were receiving from colleagues.
Asked about their goals, Mr. Diaz talked about the impending work of teaching MYP Spanish: “We are both DP teachers, and are now becoming MYP. We want to get into depth and profundity of the MYP,” he said.
Aside from academic pursuits, Mr. Diaz also talked about coaching the sub-junior and junior girls basketball team, a job he has never done before. He looks forward to this challenge and learning a lot from the girls.
Ms. Rodriguez will also be coaching a sport; karate, in which she is a black belt.
“When I was a student, I was the one who ran the classes when the instructor wasn’t there. This is the first time I’m actually teaching it,” she said. So far, the karate lessons have been “very good.”
Another goal that they have is to learn more about India: “It is both thrilling and confusing: such a wide country with so many cultures within.” Mr. Diaz said.
One way that he is investigating India is by learning one if its many languages, Hindi. Underlying their motivation to learn about Indian culture is more than simple curiosity.
“We want to try to get into the way of thinking: understanding the world of our students,” Mr. Diaz said.
Ms. Rodriguez, aside from having experience as a Spanish teacher, worked for Home Box Office (HBO) for 10 years. She had studied mass media and communications in college and ended up working with films.
She said, “It is something I love to mix in my classes: film history, audio, videos, and music that I can use as a tool [to improve learning]. I love movies.”
Similarly, Mr. Diaz also worked with Ashoka, a non-government organization that promotes social entrepreneurship.
“I would love to apply a few things that I learned from there,” he said.
When asked about what led them to teach the subject, Mr. Diaz said: “Hispanic culture is diverse: beautiful traditions, literature, and music.”
“We love the language and culture,” Ms. Rodriguez added.
“We love to share that,” Mr. Diaz concluded.
Photo by Dhrubhagat Singh