My wife and I returned to The American School in Switzerland (TASIS) in 2009 after each completing our Ph.D. coursework in the top-ranked College of Education at Michigan State University. In the nine years since we left TASIS in 2000, the independent boarding school had expanded to include elementary and middle schools in addition to its already existing high school. TASIS currently welcomes a sizable day student population (non-boarding students) and is attended by students representing over 50 nations.
I did not teach at TASIS during the 2009-10 school year, deciding instead to use the academic year to work full-time on my dissertation. However, I joined the TASIS science faculty on a part-time basis during the 2010-11 school year and then on a full-time basis during the 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 school years. During the past five school years, I’ve served the school as the Middle School Science Department Head/Chair. In this role, I’ve directed much of my professional energies toward helping reshape the existing TASIS middle school science curriculum and also toward mentoring other TASIS science teachers. I have engaged in these development and administrative tasks while continuing to teach middle school science classes to grades 6, 7, and 8 students with widely varying linguistic abilities, academic needs, and cultural backgrounds.
In June of 2014, I was awarded the 2014 Akbar Khan – Max Page Master Teacher Award, an award that recognizes “an outstanding teacher who represents a high standard of professional pedagogy, subject-area knowledge, [and] a capacity to convey the joy and importance of learning to students.”