Foundation Stage Teacher
Welcome to Michael Dolan-Hodgson, our new Foundation Stage 1 teacher. Originally from London, he has been living in Bangkok for the past two years.
“I have always worked in inner London schools and I felt like I needed a different experience, that London was all I had experienced. A few friends had been teachers in international schools in different countries and after hearing about their experiences they had, in terms of teaching in a different context and learning about different cultures, really appealed to me. Also, I knew it would help me break out of my comfort zone. I was a teacher at another international school here in Bangkok for two years. I came for an open day at Bangkok Patana in my first year in Bangkok and still quite new to the international school scene. I remember when I looked around and saw the Early Years area, I thought this was my absolute early years goal to work in a facility as well-equipped as this one. I have only ever worked in very small Primary schools, so I was drawn to the size and facilities. After I had seen the school and talked with people, I learned about its high standards and commitment to excellent education. That is when I knew it was where I wanted to work.”
“I have absolutely loved my experience here, even though it has only been a couple of weeks. I feel really well supported and work with a fantastic team. There is a real culture of sharing and helping each other. Already, I feel I am learning a lot from the other teachers, working alongside them is really motivating and inspiring me to be better. Also, I love the systems in place, how there is a system for everything with easy to use and clear guidelines. The campus itself feels like such a treat to come in and walk in. It really feels like you are in nature. I am so excited for when the children come back and to see the children use the Early Years building. I am picturing what I will do and what the classroom will look like.”
“I was involved in a graduate scheme called Teach First that puts teachers in more deprived areas with socio-economic challenges, I worked in inner-London schools. The common thread between my classes was always communication and language. Communication and how children interact with adults and their friends is a huge part of the Early Years curriculum. A method I adopted in London was something called helicopter stories, a model of a lesson where children dictate their own stories to an adult, about anything they like. The teacher records it verbatim and once recorded the child sits in a circle with their friends and they act out that story. It’s a wonderful tool for different aspects of the curriculum. It improves communication, self-esteem, confidence and friendship. It had such an impact on the children. In my old school here in Bangkok I was teaching a lot of children with EAL and they needed the same development as the children in London. I found the stories helped improve communication and language, I helped roll it out across other classes in the school. I’ve never tried it with older children, but I imagine it could be used across all age ranges. Children are always telling stories and when they see them come to life and their friends acting them out. it is a real confidence booster and really ignites their imaginations.”
“I love travelling, obviously not at the moment, but I had never been to SE Asia before I came here so it was all new to me. In some ways it is still new to me because I haven’t had much chance to explore – but its high up on my list. I love animals, I have two dogs. I love photography and Bangkok is a fantastic city for it because there is so much going on all the time.”
“Before I was a teacher I worked for the Metropolitan Police in the Dispatch office, I used to answer 999 calls and dispatch police out to emergencies. People are often surprised by that, truth be told, but I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do when I left university and when the opportunity came up, I thought I’d try it. I did love it, it was a crazy job especially working in London, but it was really good to help me develop calmness. I only worked there two years, but it was a great experience and helped me learn how to be calm in all circumstances.”