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Staff Profile: Susan Whalley

Susan Whalley

Year 1 Teacher

My teaching career began in my home country of New Zealand.  After completing a Bachelor of Arts at Canterbury University, majoring in Education and Business Administration, I then went on to complete my Diploma of Primary Teaching.  While I enjoyed working in New Zealand, the Kiwi need to travel fueled my move to teach in Shanghai. This introduced me not only to the expat way of life, but also my husband.  Over the years we have lived in China, Hong Kong and we have been in Thailand for over 10 years, where my husband grew up.   

My first experience of St. Andrews International School Bangkok was as a parent. Furthermore, my first impressions of the school are not only the reason both my daughters attend St Andrews, but it is also the reason why I decided I wanted to work here. I am a firm believer that a school community should not only accept but also embrace differences in culture, social and academic skills. Children learn in so many ways, and it is important that the heart of a school is kindness, between students, parents and teachers. I feel that this defines St. Andrews. Teachers here have such a heart and warmth with their students.  It is not just about academic skills, it is a place where your children can work out who they are, not only as learners, but also who they are as young people.

I joined the St. Andrews teaching team in 2017 and I am currently a Year 1 classroom teacher.  My previous job, as the Principal of Annabel’s Early Years here in Bangkok, was pulling me further and further away from why I studied Education all those years ago - children and their learning.  I love being back in the classroom and connecting with children’s needs.  Having a play-based philosophy in Year 1 at St. Andrews means that as a staff we can teach the ‘whole’ child and ignite children’s learning in an interesting and engaging way.

Teaching and learning has become my passion, and over the years I have continued studying to evolve as a teacher. I completed a Post Graduate diploma in Reading and Literacy Learning, and have done various workshops in and around Early Years and play based learning. I particularly enjoyed Hanen’s training as a  “Learning Language and loving it” instructor, and feel that these play based meaningful language experiences are so important with our multilingual children here at St. Andrews.

When I’m not teaching -  I am busy being a Mum, traveling (or planning where to travel to next) or trying to make time to keep fit. I often sign up for different events such as Triathlon, Runs or Spartan races around Asia - mainly to motivate and encourage myself to get out and train! I also help coach netball with the Bangkok Junior Netball league on a Saturday morning. Of course being from New Zealand – I always make time for watching sport and supporting the All Blacks!