Today we would like to introduce you two of our fantastic Gresol team: Mr. Jesse Caro and Mr. Luke Woodcock. The first one is our G4 teacher and he has worked in education for 8 years, spending the last 5 years as a teacher. He was born in New York and has worked as a private tutor, as an English teacher in China, and as a consultant for the ACT, inc. (one of the providers of college entrance exams in the USA) before coming to Gresol, where he has been working for two years. On the other hand, Luke was born in the UK and has taught for 9 years in Catalunya and Mallorca (Girona, Barcelona, Terrassa and Palma). He also taught at language schools in the UK and China. Since September of 2020, he is a member of our excellent team.
Why did both of you want to be teachers?
Jesse: One is never too old to stop learning. Science continually changes, exciting math techniques are developed, and new books are always being written. As a teacher, I get to share my love of learning with my students. I view my classroom as a collaborative space where the students and I are working together to better understand the world we are all living in.
Luke: As with most people growing up, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to be, but once I got into teaching, I definitely caught the bug and it became clear that it was going to be a vocation for me, rather than just a profession. I like that every day, every class and every student is different, so there is constant scope for modifying and improving how you teach the material.
As G4 and G6 Homeroom teachers, what differences can you find as professionals teaching at those ages?
Jesse: In G6, students are preparing to enter Secondary School. In G4, we are still a few years away from that transition. G4 is focused on developing a love of learning and finding approaches to understanding the world and its phenomena: how does one answer a scientific question; why are certain topics important to learn about; what sorts of value can you get from reading a book? G6 starts getting more practical, while of course always maintaining that curiosity, as students need to be prepared for the rigors of Secondary School.
Luke: My priority as G6 teacher is to prepare the students for life in secondary school. Which means focusing on improving key skills like independent learning, organisation and initiative, as being adept in these areas will help them in the future. It is also about instilling an awareness of why learning is important, by providing tangible connections to how the material will benefit them in their lives, as students are always more motivated by studying something when they understand its value.
In your opinion, as teachers, what is the most important goal that you aim for when you work with children?
Jesse: I want children to think for themselves. I want them to develop their own ideas about what is meaningful in life. I want them to always question things and search for a better answer. Every person is utterly unique, and no particular way of thinking or living is suitable for everyone. I want to foster the growth of a group of individuals, each discovering their own interests and passions.
Luke: With children I think for me it’s all about trying to get maximum engagement. This can be through, as I previously said, helping the children understand the value of what they’re learning, but it also needs to be done through capturing their imaginations through the use of creative, dynamic and innovative teaching techniques.
As teachers, how important is it to motivate the students to learn by doing?
Jesse: When students dislike school, it is often because they are forced to do boring tasks with no real goal other than to finish the work and get good grades. But learning is really about exploring the world around you, figuring out how to do and make things, and understanding everything that life will throw at you. When a student is actively engaged in creating something tangible, they see how learning connects to their real lives. When an assignment involves creation and action, it is no longer merely a task to be completed but becomes an exciting adventure in the real world.
Luke: I think limits vary depending on the subject, but the ideal situation is always that students can put into practice the knowledge they have learnt, which again helps highlight the value it has in real-world situations, and thus in their futures. For example, if they can learn a new set of vocabulary, then it should be used and practiced in a real situation, or if they have learnt the theory of a scientific principle, they should be able to test that knowledge by conducting an experiment.
What would you highlight about the education given at Gresol?
Jesse: Gresol is a place where there is a lot of creativity in the classes. Each teacher has their own approach and insights into learning, and by working together we can give the students a varied, exciting educational experience that’s never boring.
Luke: I think the curriculum and environment at Gresol allows the students a lot of opportunity to advance themselves not just academically, but as people as well. There is a big focus on participation, free-thinking and creativity, in an environment where curiosity to learn is encouraged, and this helps foster important attributes in the students, such as self-confidence, open-mindedness and critical-thinking.