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Happy teachers = happy learners

Photographs: Søren Jensen / Rosenfeldt

Text: Shani Bishop

We all know that happy parents equal happy kids, but the same can be said for school. Happy teachers equal happy learners. In this article, we find out what makes North Zealand International School (NIS) such a happy place where the learner can thrive. Søren Jensen and Joanna Hansen, both teachers at NIS, share their stories and passion for teaching with us.

Søren Jensen, Music Teacher at NIS

When you meet Søren Jensen, you feel this overwhelming passion for music and his students. He truly wants them to be the best they can be.

Søren started teaching drums after gymnasium. Later, he enrolled at the prestigious Drummers Collective in New York City, which honed his skills as a professional musician. After studying music at Copenhagen University, he trained to be a music teacher and started teaching at NIS and NGG. In 2011 Søren wrote a book about playing the drums called ‘Kadaboum’, and it is used in music classes all over Denmark today.

Why do you like teaching at NIS?

Classes are smaller at NIS, and because it’s private, I can teach classes my way to bring out the best in my students. For example, my music lessons in the international school are a great mix of music and culture, both highly valued here.

The international students have seen and done a lot in their lives, so they are always open to challenges and enjoyable to teach. The IPC personal goals are very evident at NIS, especially respect for the teacher and each other.

Søren Jensen brings his passion for music into the classroom at NIS.

What’s the best part of teaching?

Often it’s the internal barriers that stop students from performing at their best. I love helping students towards becoming the best musician they can be. It’s great working out how to transfer their energy as a class into creativity to produce something remarkable.

What events are you involved in at NIS?

The Spring Concerts allow classes to showcase their musical ability, and it’s great to support the kids and see what they can achieve. I also enjoy being involved with International Day and going on overseas trips.

Joanna Hansen, Year 6 teacher

Joanna was born in the UK then moved to California when she was 13. She attended the University of California in Santa Barbara. Joanna earned her bachelor’s degree in English - later studying at the University of California in Irvine to achieve her teaching credentials before adding a specialism in maths later. During this period, she loved her placements in year 1, year two and year 5.

What makes a ‘good day’ at school?

A great day at school is when I see my class learning and enjoying their lessons. But, at the same time, they teach me something. I love to see an “ah-ha” moment cross a student’s face or read my class’s writing and see that they got it! In primary school, a class comes together like a family, and I enjoy that bond.

What’s the best thing about being a teacher?

The best thing is being with children throughout the day. Every day is different, and it’s never stagnant. My aspiration for my students is for them to become lifelong learners.

What makes NIS special?

That we are so international, the teachers have had similar experiences to the children, so they know what it is like to travel about and be at a new school in a new country learning a different culture. It provides a home and gives us one place where we have a shared culture. That shared understanding and culture make it an exceptional place to be.

"I love to see an “ah-ha” cross a student’s face." - Joanna Hansen.

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