What a wonderful start to the new academic year we have had in the Mathematics Department here at BIS Hanoi. Our department has expanded with a sixth member of the team and two brand new staff members to replace those who returned to Great Britain. Those new members of staff were warmly welcomed by the existing team and a fantastic set of exam results that boasted higher numbers of A/A* grades than we have ever had before. Finally, our curriculum offer has improved this year to incorporate the International Baccalaureate program and this gives us an even better opportunity to extend our brightest young mathematicians with the extremely challenging Higher Level course.
It has been something of a baptism of fire for the new staff, who were asked on their seventh day of work to begin putting together our inaugural Mathematics Challenge Day. This day was a year in the making as I collaborated with my primary counterpart, the amazing Mr. Thomas Adams, our Primary Mathematics Coordinator. I remember our first meeting in November last year when we both agreed that we wanted to get all of BIS Hanoi’s students learning together, in a common language, framed by a common experience and working on the mathematics that relates to motorbikes. For almost a year, Tom and I shared the same, irresistible vision of what could be possible, although in truth we had no guarantee that our day would work well; and neither of us knew anyone that had ever seen anything like it before. However, on Tuesday, 20th of September 2016, almost one hundred marvellous teachers and support staff helped us to turn our vision into a reality.
On the day it was a joy to behold our tremendous students as they helped each other to achieve the highest Top Trumps Totals and engage in joyous discourse about their work. The things that the younger students were learning, the older students were teaching them. Our day crossed numerous generation gaps, pushed staff and students alike to the edge of their comfort zones, and gave everyone a chance to shine. In particular our senior students seized yet another opportunity to show their outstanding calibre and became the leaders that we knew they were capable of being. There were many instances throughout the day of senior students assisting staff and many people commented that without them, the day would not have worked as well. This is excellent news for our final year students as they begin to ask for references for Universities in America, Australia and Great Britain.
Today alone, I was approached by three bright young women and honoured by their requests to write them a “strong university reference”. It is easy to write a strong reference for such emerging adults who genuinely have the whole world in the palms of their hands. In fact, working at BIS Hanoi, it is easy to see the future as an exciting place for everyone.
John Kennedy - Maths Leader