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Angela Stancar Johnson - Learner's Profile

I spent my undergraduate years at a small liberal arts college in North Carolina. My education there was in many ways similar to an IB education: broad, balanced and inquiry-driven.
I took several interdisciplinary courses which transformed my way of thinking about the disciplines as discrete subjects.
The most memorable of these was an interdisciplinary English/Science course called the Biogeography and Literature of Islands, which included a field study experience in St Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. Daily scuba diving followed by nightly talks about Shakespeare’s The Tempest or Derek Walcott’s Omeros? What more could you ask for?
I love learning, and I embrace any opportunity for personal growth and professional development. I have never seen education as a means to an end, but as part of a journey.
Two years ago, I completed my second Master’s degree (this time in Educational Leadership). Prior to this I obtained the International Teacher Certificate and the MYP certificate in teaching and learning. I haven’t ruled out a Ph.D. but for now I’m quite content using my own classroom as a vehicle for my own learning, not just my students’. The new English A courses have allowed my colleagues and me to position ourselves as co-learners. The chance to collaborate has been invaluable.
Within the span of about 18 months, I collaborated on 5 Hodder Education titles -- for both the MYP and DP.
Working on so many projects certainly required me to tap into my critical and creative thinking skills!
Working with Hodder Education has given me the exciting opportunity to communicate and collaborate with author-educators in Australia, Austria and the United States.
Forming connections with like-minded educators has broadened my professional outlook and has given me new ideas and perspectives to consider.
Over the past 10 years, I have come to embrace the IB’s philosophy of education.
The IB’s mission should be something all educators, not just IB educators, aspire to: “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”
The English that I studied when I was in school was fairly limited to the British Isles and North America (more specifically, the U.S.).
Teaching the IB DP, with its emphasis on literature of the wider English speaking world and literature in translation, has really opened my mind to authors outside of the traditional canon.
Living in London, too, is a bibliophile’s dream: there are so many publishing houses promoting new authors and works, and my school’s location in the heart of the city means that we can really take advantage of some of the latest talks and events. Literature really is a window to the world!
Having three children has certainly given me a different perspective on working with young people.
My priority as a classroom teacher has shifted from teaching my subject to teaching students. My most important job is to ensure that my students are happy, safe and feel cared for as learners. If all of those elements are in place, then success will inevitably follow.
I’ve taken some physical risks (skydiving at 19 comes to mind!) and some emotional risks (like moving countries), but to be honest just stepping into the classroom each day is a bit of a risk.
I mean this in a positive way: I find that teaching allows me to develop as a learner – like my students – and teaching literature in particular gives my students and me an opportunity to express different ideas or viewpoints, some of which may be unpopular.
It’s hard to find balance with a full time job and three children at home,
but I do try as much as possible to ensure that I get some head space every day – even if that means multitasking by reading on my daily commute into London.
Living in the capital certainly has its benefits, but my family and I do like to get out of the city as much as possible; I find that I am much more centred when I can escape the noise and pace of our hectic urban life.
Apart from academic writing, I have had a lifelong love of creative writing.
As part of my graduate studies in poetry writing, I attended a summer writing programme in Prague, which allowed me the space to reflect on myself and my writing practice.
Sadly, I don’t have as much time to cultivate that passion these days with such a busy work and home life.