Once on this mountain: Mr. Farnham

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 WIS (Western International School) in Shanghai where I was for 11 years and it is also one of the Gail schools where I taught I&S ( Integrated humanities)  for MYP. I’m currently teaching English language and literature for DP 2 students in Woodstock. I have joined the Woodstock community on the hillside, and I’m glad to be here in Missouri.

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

Now I’m on the hillside, hence my experience is quite different to that of Shanghai cause my next-door neighbours are langurs and monkeys so there is a lot more nature than there was there. Shanghai is a very big city that is entirely artificial and has a heavy population of 20 million people, but in Landour, it is more peaceful and sparsely populated, and that for me is a vast difference. The previous school I worked at was established just 15 years ago, so we inherited less, but here at Woodstock, it was founded in 1854 and hence is a place with a massive history and a massive tradition.

What is your goal for this academic year?

So my biggest goal for the school is, I know that it’s been here for over a century but hasn’t been an IB school for very long. And I do have a lot of IB experience, so I think my biggest goal for the students would be to do everything I can to help them navigate through the IB curriculum and be successful in getting through the diploma programme. And I’m saying this not specifically to the subjects alone but IB as a whole as it can be kind of daunting as the students are being hit with other fulfillments such as TOK, Extended Essay and CAS.

Hence with my experience of being the Extend essay coordinator as well in my previous school, I believe I can provide a lot of support for them in the IB system.

However, my biggest kind of desire is to teach in the classroom with the students present offline, and that’s something I’m looking forward to.

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

Yes, sure, so about me, I really like the outdoors. As a matter of fact, one of the first jobs I had in education was as an outdoor education guide, sort of like the people at the Hanifl centre. So my first job was to guide people through hiking trips etc in Canada and the US. I’m really excited to be in a school where outdoor education is a huge component and am really thrilled to be in the foothills of the Himalayas.

What’s the one thing you like about Mussoorie?

The thing that I’m liking about Mussoorie now is getting up early and going for a run on the Chalker because the view is spectacular. And the monsoon is slowly ending and there’ll be some mornings where I go for a run and there’ll be pine trees, ferns and orchids clad by mist. On other days where the sun would be shining and I could see for miles and miles and miles.

What’s the one thing you’ve noticed about Woodstock students?

It’s been a weird experience as I have only been seeing them online. They’re quite relaxed with the teacher, that is with me, but they’ve figured out the balance between being informal and not being at all disrespectful so that’s nice. 

Sakthi is a staff reporter.

Edited by Bishalakshmi.

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