Get to know GESS: Meeting Christiane Kübler

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Please introduce yourself to our community.

Before joining GESS as the director of high school, I was head of the international section of the biggest Gymnasium in Darmstadt/Hessen for 10 years. I had also worked abroad for 8 years in Windhoek/Namibia where I taught Biology and Chemistry both in the German Abitur-Section and the international IGSE section. In my free time I love doing all kinds of sports! I have completed more than 30 marathons and many ultra-marathons, but I also like mountain biking, playing tennis and skiing. Having worked abroad for almost 20 years, travelling and exploring new countries and cultures have become a passion.

Since when you have been with GESS and what made you choose GESS?

I have been with GESS since 2014! My husband and I had worked in a German School in Africa before, so it has been our intention to join a school abroad again. We decided on Singapore because it was a big contrast to Namibia and therefore a completely new exciting experience for us. Singapore is a garden city, the gateway to South-East-Asia and the school is an attractive environment with multicultural students and staff.

You worked as a Scientist before, what made you change your profession to become a teacher?

It was always my dream to become a teacher but after my graduation from university with a teaching diploma, I got the opportunity to work as a biochemist, first in research and later in marketing in a globally operating pharmaceutical company. I really enjoyed those years as this experience was very valuable for me and still helps me to look at things from a different perspective and to understand the skills needed to be successful in a future job! 

What I like about teaching and working as a school leader is to share my passion about lifelong learning, create and foster curiosity in students and to support them to achieve their individual goals. I still try to meet all my high school students on a regular basis to support them in their progress towards the Abitur.

I really love my subjects – biology and chemistry – as I enjoy supporting students to develop their creativity, research skills and passion to explore new phenomena by doing experiments!

What are the new initiatives and projects that you are working on?

GESS is such a dynamic, fast-developing school that offers so many initiatives and projects due to constantly changing requirements. When I joined GESS in 2014, we had a cohort of 15 Abitur students, this year we have 38 and our next grade 11 will be more than 40 students! This shows the importance of school development regarding learning experiences but also organisational structures to help ensure all students reach their final goal – the Abitur – and to maintain or even improve our Abitur results. Being a community school, it is paramount to focus on individual needs of our students. It is not just me at work but the whole high school team, including our fabulous teachers, career counselling, centre of excellence and learning support. This is what I really like about GESS – we have great teamwork and support! For instance, we strengthened the career counselling that will now be implemented in the regular timetable up to grade 12. We are also introducing homeroom lessons for high school students up to grade 12, to focus on individual support and guidance, and allow students to feel more connected with assigned educators even when we have bigger cohorts.

From an academic perspective, I am very excited about our growing excellence programme with so many students participating in science competitions, like Jugend Forscht or Science Olympiads, and opportunities that our BeyondClassrooms programme will offer for high school students, involving collaboration with universities and companies in Singapore and worldwide. Now that Covid-related restrictions are easing, we will also be able to revive and develop on-campus experiences and exchange programmes for our grade 10 to 12 students.

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