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Faculty Friday: Nathalie Waldmann

Nathalie is a music educator and linguist from Austria, where she completed her undergraduate and graduate studies summa cum laude at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and University of Vienna. After working in primary, secondary and tertiary education, Nathalie joined Dwight School Seoul in the first year of its opening. Since then, she has been fortunate to accompany students from primary years to their graduation and get to know them well over the years.

What is your role at Dwight School Seoul?
I teach Music and German, mostly in the Lower School. Furthermore, I support and collaborate with specialist and homeroom teachers to create a transdisciplinary curriculum in the Primary Years Programme, identifying relevant concepts and subject skills that integrate the perspectives of multiple disciplines.

What made you decide to work in an education setting?  And what is your philosophy?
As the author Henry B. Adams once said, “A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops.”, educators can see the impact they have on the world around them and can make a difference in people’s lives. I also get to grow together with my students – as they learn I learn, too. As an educator, I am passionate about creating learning environments in which students are empowered to act as co-constructors of their own learning and are given voice, choice and ownership.

What do you like the most about working at DSS?
What I like most about working at DSS is the personalized learning community our school offers. Our students enjoy strong rapport with their teachers, other staff members as well as students from different grade levels. I also enjoy working as part of a talented team, collaborating with and learning from my fellow colleagues on a daily basis. Lastly, I value the multiple opportunities the IB curriculum offers to apply learning in real-life contexts, from staging public performances to testing acoustic hypotheses in the Dwight Makerspace, from finding investors for a business unit to organizing workshops with contemporary composers.

What are your interests and or hobbies?
My family loves spending time outdoors, exploring hiking trails, camping or going on bike rides. We have welcomed a poodle puppy to our home recently, which brought lots of excitement and new responsibilities for us.

Who inspires you and how?  
I am inspired by people who enjoy leaving their comfort zone, who have an enthusiasm for life and have an ability to adapt to changing conditions. I particularly look up to my parents for teaching me these qualities and for instilling in me a curiosity to look beyond how things are and see how things could be.

What is the best book or production that you have read, watched, or listened to lately?
A book I enjoyed reading lately is the “Art of Possibility”, written by conductor Benjamin Zander and therapist Rosamund Stone Zander. Presenting twelve practices for bringing creativity into human endeavors, this book provides an artistic framework for transforming the way we define ourselves, our connections to others, and the environment we live and work in.

What global challenge would you like to see tackled and how do you see yourself contributing to the positive change that you desire? 
Working in an international school environment is an opportunity to develop intercultural competence and understanding, attitudes that are necessary for peace-building. I believe that the Arts in particular serve as a universal language and bridge, transcending ethnic, political and religious boundaries. As we could experience with our recent Global Music Festival “Souls in Harmony”, music has a powerful way of creating community and unity across cultures, and is accessible for all to experience and enjoy.

If I was given one wish, what would it be?
If I was given one wish, it would be to have the superpower to freeze time while still being able to move around normally. This would allow me to experience my children longer while they are still young – time passes too fast!

Why would you tell a prospective family to choose DSS?
I would recommend DSS for its personalized learning environment and its mission to ignite the spark of genius in every child.

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