Ms. Darshana Kalyanpur, a Grade 5 teacher in Global Indian International School’s IB Primary Years Programme, discussed her journey as a teacher at GIIS for over 7 years. This is a summarised version of her conversation with Selina D’Souza, a Senior Communications Executive at the school.
Hi Darshana! We’d like to know about your experience teaching at GIIS. Can you share some of your experiences with us?
I have been a teacher at Global Indian International School (GIIS) for the last 7 years. When GIIS introduced the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) in 2019, it turned out to be a fantastic chance for me to grow and learn. The PYP didn’t just bring about a change in the way I taught, it brought about a shift in my perception of education.
Working at GIIS has been like being part of a big family. The people I work with are not just my colleagues; they are my mentors and friends. We support and encourage each other, and it feels great to be part of a team where everyone's ideas are celebrated, and we face challenges together. I won’t be exaggerating when I say that our team is what keeps me motivated each day.
In a profession where we impact students' lives daily, having a strong team is really important!
That’s absolutely true. And about your students?
The other most enjoyable part of working at GIIS is spending time with my students every day! They are so curious, full of energy, and always excited to learn. Being around them makes each day feel like magic for me!
And it's not just about imparting knowledge, my students are active learners and participate enthusiastically in the process of learning. The IB Primary Years Programme encourages students to become independent learners and it’s great to see my students developing their voice in the classroom, and learning to use it outside the classroom as well.
In the teaching profession, it’s common to hear complaints of exhaustion and even burn-out. The fact that I'm always excited to come to school says a lot about how much I enjoy working at GIIS, as part of the PYP team.
What about parents’ role in the educational context - how do you engage with them?
Communicating regularly with parents and building a rapport with them is an essential part of a parent-teacher partnership. Transparency and openness from teachers encourage parents to become actively involved in their child's education. In the world of teaching, feedback is like a superpower for improvement. I give honest feedback to both parents and students, whether it's praising the achievements of my students or talking about areas that need more attention. The goal is to have a positive conversation that helps parents and students take an active role in learning.
Trust is super important in any team, and being open is how we build that trust. When we consistently share honest feedback, trust grows between teachers, parents, and students. This trust is the foundation for a supportive and caring school community where everyone is focused on making sure each child succeeds and feels good.
That’s very insightful indeed. I’m sure you had several opportunities to grow at GIIS, would you like to highlight any?
I would like to share my journey of how I first learnt about the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and eventually became an Advocate of the SDGs.
In the Primary Years Programme, teachers and students don’t just teach/learn from textbooks. The IB has a set of core attributes that is part of the IB Learner Profile and it guides students to become lifelong learners, critical thinkers and compassionate individuals.
While learning about the world and how to make it a better place, I heard about the SDGs. The interesting thing is that the concepts we learn about in the PYP are connected to these goals. I applied to be an SDG advocate and it gave me opportunities to work on projects that focus on making our school and community better.
From teaching others about the goals to organising activities, I felt like I was making a difference. In September 2023, the UN SDG recognized me as the "Advocate of the Month." This made me really happy and excited to do more for the SDGs at GIIS.
I also got to share what we were doing with other teachers through the PYP Connect. It's a forum where PYP teachers from different international schools talk about what works in their classrooms. I loved sharing my ideas and hearing what others were doing.
Working on projects linked to the SDGs has now become a routine part of our classroom activities. It feels good because as a team, both teachers and students alike, we feel like we're making the world a better place.
Can you tell us more about the professional development opportunities at GIIS?
We get opportunities to attend various teacher training sessions and IB workshops at GIIS, which helps us to become better teachers, and it also motivates us to try out new ways of teaching. The PYP coordinator who heads the IB Primary Years Programme at GIIS, Ms. Manju Nair, encourages us to keep learning and growing. Not just as educators, but as individuals as well.
She has created a culture where we feel supported, even when faced with challenges, and want to better ourselves. She also takes the time to work closely with us - asking us to share our ideas and feedback openly. As a team, we exchange ideas, learn from each other and are inspired to try new things regularly.
This environment of trust and support from the leadership and team makes the PYP special at GIIS.
I think we can conclude that you are a happy educator at GIIS.
Yes, of course! The great team, positive leadership and amazing students make it a place where each day is like opening a new and exciting chapter in the learning journey.
Awesome, it was good talking with you Darshana. Thank you for your time!
To know more about Global Indian International School, the different international curricula we offer and our dedicated faculty, contact our admissions team or schedule a school tour to visit us in person.