Once on this mountain: Ms Amelia and Mr Jonathan

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?

Ms Amelia and Mr Jonathan:

We are from Los Angeles, United States, where both of us were born and raised. It’s also the place where our teaching experience came from. And we’re currently on Mount Herman number 1, which is on top of the Woodstock campus. We were also raised about less than a mile from each other, so we might’ve run into each other, but we just don’t remember.

What subjects do you teach?

Ms Amelia:

I teach 11th-grade chemistry and physics.

Mr Jonathan:

I teach language and literature 4th, 5th, 8th and 9th grades. We’re also 9th-grade advisors together. We really hope to have our advisees at our home. 

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

Ms Amelia:

So much yet so little. The location is drastically different. The monsoon in the hillsides differs a lot from LA. The class sizes are also very different.

Mr Jonathan:

Back in LA, my school had a small green patch that I loved immensely because it was an ocean of cement, and those few trees were like an island of life. In contrast to here at Woodstock, where any cement or building is a tiny section of an island amid a sea and trees with natural beauty and wildlife. 

How do you perceive the community in Woodstock?

Ms Amelia and Mr Jonathan:

Our community is our work, we live on campus, and our coworkers are also our good friends. We see each other every day, even if we’re working from home. We are also really fond of how diverse the students and staff members are.

What are your goals for the academic year?

Ms Amelia:

My interaction with my students and with coworkers in my own personal self. Goals become more communal in regards to a boarding school which I’m really excited about. My primary purpose regarding the curriculum is to stay on pace and to make sure my students have a good grasp of the curriculum without taking too much time. Connecting with my students is also my priority, along with connecting with the community. 

Mr Jonathan:

My primary goal is to provide a positive and supportive environment to my students. One of our main goals, which are personal ones, is to put a house together in Woodstock. Another one of my goals is to complete my music album during this academic year and have it distributed everywhere I can. I also want to improve and continue my meditation, even if it’s for 5 minutes. 

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

Ms Amelia:

We are vegan. It’s a dietary restriction, but staying here makes it so easy for us because most vegetarian people add a slight tweak to the food, and it’s fantastic. I do like taking photos. I traded some of our furniture for a zoom lens which I take pictures with. And I really enjoy watercolour painting as well. 

Mr Jonathan:

I release music under a stage name called Everwalden. I even released an EP and some other singles, but as mentioned, I want to focus on my own full-length album. I also love to enjoy nature and sit with a cup of coffee and stare at the incredible view of the trees. And I definitely love the food over here. It’s a bit spicy, but I love spice.

What’s one thing you like about Mussoorie?

Ms Amelia:

There are so many things that it’s pretty tough to pinpoint just one. One thing is that when we arrived here it was raining, but there was so much beautiful greenery throughout our journey and the smell was so fresh.

Mr Jonathan:

It’s tough to pick one. The wilderness and the views from Woodstock are mesmerising. But, my answer would have to be the community in the mountains.

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

Ms Amelia:

The different backgrounds and cultures are really unique. I love that my students here are very engaged and are great communicators. It’s also very interactive, and the students never let me down on topics because their interests are pretty apparent. 

Mr Jonathan:

I think students are talkative, and it’s gratifying to teach this way because when you have a conversation, it doesn’t feel like work which is an excellent part of my livelihood– to get to talk and interact with young people about subjects I’m passionate about. 

What are your expectations, with students, outside of academics?

Ms Amelia:

For me, Chemistry and Physics are beautiful topics, but when I talk about why I got into teaching, it’s to be involved in the community. I am excited to talk about the scientific aspect of life, and all aspects of life, with students. When I was young I really valued mentorship, but I thought it was solely about looking up to someone older. However, here it’s a mutual mentorship where I’m also constantly learning from my students.

Mr Jonathan:

We don’t have any kids of our own, but we do feel like we have hundreds of kids who are our students. We care about them academically and personally, and to have a relationship of mutual learning and just being there for each other is lovely.

Towseef Khan is a staff reporter.

Edited by Rewa Nyangmi.

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