Once on this mountain: Ms. Katerina Vackova

As our academic year progresses, we welcome many new staff members. The Woodstocker caught up with some of them to chronicle the first chapter of their adventures.

Where are you coming from and where are you right now?

I come from the Czech Republic which is in Central Europe. I spent the last decade living in the UK, where I was teaching. I am currently living in Woodstock, on campus. 

What subjects do you teach?

I teach Global Politics and History in the IB diploma program. 

What’s different about Woodstock from the last place you worked at?

I can’t really say school-wise as we are still online, unfortunately, but otherwise, definitely the environment. Before I lived in a city and even though it was relatively small, I lived in the middle of the city. Now, I am living in the middle of nature! I definitely have a much better view as compared to when I was teaching online from England. 

What are your goals for the academic year?

I would like to support students as much as possible so they can realize their full potential, particularly during these difficult times. The transition is not easy from an online setting and there’s much more pressure on young people, and teachers alike. It really doesn’t give students much of an experience to be an adult and be at school at the same time. They are robbed of opportunities, not just in relation to social skills but also in learning. Normally, you have easy access to your classmates and outside of the classroom you can discuss topics from class and make sense of things, but now you don’t have those same opportunities. I would like to make it easier for students while still allowing them to flourish, not only academically but also personally. 

Are there any fun facts about you that you’d like to share?

Well, I think I own hundreds of earrings and they currently reside in four different countries! 

Also, I have been teaching global politics since 2016, just a year after it was introduced into the IB. Previously, I was teaching international relations, there’s definitely an overlap between the two subjects. So, I actually have eight years of experience teaching global politics/international relations. I even studied it for several years and I am really passionate about it. I find it absolutely fascinating, I don’t think there’s a better subject than global politics!

What’s one thing you like about Mussoorie?

The lifestyle is much simpler, I would say, there are much fewer distractions too. I do appreciate that. Another reason why I wanted to come here was because of the sense of community. I think Woodstock has been very successful in building a community and in welcoming people in. It’s the sense of belonging that I was missing elsewhere. So I am hoping to become a member of the community and feel accepted. 

What’s one thing you have noticed about Woodstock students?

They are very polite and brilliant in email communication. Previously when my students emailed me, there would be no subject, and very often it would just be an attachment and no text. However, students at Woodstock actually know the etiquette and I’m so impressed. Their emails often begin with a kind greeting and these small things really make a difference to me.

Keerat Uppal is the news editor.

Edited by Rewa Nyangmi.

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