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Faculty Friday: Michael Calmer

Michael Calmer is from Melbourne, Australia and he has taught in the Catholic system for more than 15 years. Prior to that, Michael taught in London. This is his first international school and he absolutely loves living in Seoul and teaching at Dwight School Seoul.

What is your role at Dwight School Seoul? 
My role is the Head of Department for Language and Literature Studies, formerly known as Language A. This department includes English to all MYP classes and teaches Literature and Language & Literature for DP classes. We also have the Korean A program for students who would like to learn about texts in the Korean language.

What made you decide to work in an education setting?  And what is your philosophy?
During my teenage years, school  was a very positive experience and I wanted to be able to provide my students with a similar experience. I love to see teenagers smile and laugh and for students to know they are cared for in a safe environment.

What do you like the most about working at DSS?
I have learned so much since arriving at DSS, especially the International Baccalaureate program which has provided me the opportunity to learn new teaching strategies but to also integrate these new methods with my previous experiences. DSS has provided me with the opportunity to grow as a teacher and a leader.

What are your interests and or hobbies?
The hikes around Seoul are wonderful and there are some beautiful views, so I like to do those when the weather is a little better.  I enjoy swimming and going for long walks. Also, spending time with my new friends here at Dwight always makes me happy.

Who inspires you and how?
So many people! But I think it’s important to recognize the students here at Dwight. They have been through so much due to the pandemic and have missed out on a lot of fun events, but they are still resilient in so many ways.

What is the best book or production that you have read, watched, or listened to lately?
This is a tough one for a teacher of Literature. But I have to say post world war II post modernist dramas like Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, Regional Rose,  etc. ‘A View from the Bridge’ by Arthur Miller is one of my all time favorites. He was never afraid to challenge the world leaders about how they are impacting the lives of those who they serve to protect.

What one particular social issue calls out to you and why?  How do you see yourself contributing to making an impact/being the solution?
Tolerance. There is so much disagreement in the world about how any society should function, particularly with issues relating to gender equality, sexuality, religion or more prominently, who can take what’s not theirs and so much more. We need to show kindness to one another, regardless of our positions in society.

What is one fun fact about you that others may not know or may surprise them?
While I was studying to be a teacher, I was a McDonald’s manager for five years. I did a number of courses at a place called ‘Hamburger University’ and received a graduate diploma in Retail Management. No, I do not want fries with that!!

Why would you tell a prospective family to choose DSS?
I would say that their children would be part of a wonderful community that cares about every student who is enrolled here. Our staff are fun and approachable and will always look to improve the experience of every student.

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