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d i v i s i o n s & d e p a r t m e n t s U pper school

From the Head of School

Teacher Traits Ever since psychologist and educator Michael Thompson came to campus last October, I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on his message —that we who work in schools should spend more time listening to students. Basing myself on this philosophy, I assembled a group of 25 seniors and asked them what qualities they considered essential in a teacher. As I was heading off to a hiring fair in the United States, I thought that it might be interesting to hear from the students themselves, many of whom have been at ASF since kindergarten, about what sort of people I should try to hire to staff the school. They had some strong opinions. Here’s a summary of their input: • A true teacher – one who loves to learn things each day and is passionate about the subject. • Experienced, but fresh – someone who has worked with students in a variety of settings, but isn’t set in her/his ways. • Flexible – willing to modify things that don’t work, such as assignments, classroom teaching style, student workload and life load. • Willing to facilitate discussion – which includes listening attentively and encouraging analysis. • Patient with students –supportive, encouraging questions and never making fun of anyone. • Trustworthy – offering adult support and guidance on any aspect of students’ lives, not just academics. • Dynamic and energetic – willing to make class interesting and to mix it up. • Clear – about explanations and expectations, especially with assignments and grading. • Tech-savvy – and understands that students enjoy learning more when they can do it from different technological standpoints, such as blogs, PowerPoint and video.

Amy Gallie Head of the Upper School

Back it Up!

Today’s students have the advantage of being able to use computers to research and then produce their work. But this valuable tool comes with a risk or two, which wise users will take precautions to avoid. 12th-grade student Francisco Pagan shares here his rather unpleasant laptop experience. He hopes it will inspire all Focus readers to follow the advice of Upper School technology teacher Bernardo Letayf, whose tips to avoid a similar fate follow Francisco’s tale.


h no! You worked hard on your project so you could get 100 on it and be proud of your effort, but... someone stole your laptop and you had your project in there. I am someone who went through this horrible experience. I had three major projects in my laptop, and when I took it to school so I could finish the last one, it was stolen. There were only a few days left before I had to turn them in. So I had to redo weeks’ worth of work in a few days to be able to pass the semester. I wouldn’t have had to do all of this extra work if I had just backed up my projects. It is very important to back up your documents because you never know when you might suddenly lose all of them. If you were to back everything up, on a separate hard drive, you would never have missing files again and would not have to pass through the pain of redoing them from the beginning. One way you can avoid this mess is by saving the most important files on a USB. But the best way to avoid trouble is to get a separate hard drive, with similar or more memory than your computer, and pass all of your computer files to it so there are two copies of everything in your possession. Trust me, it will save you a lot of possible trouble.

Back-Up Tips From Bernardo Letayf 1.Get an external hard drive. This is essentially the same kind of data-holding component 16

that’s in every computer —but without the computer. Try to buy one that is at least 300 gigabytes so you’re sure to have enough space to save everything in there that you need. 2. Create a folder with your information. In your computer, make sure you always put your information in the same folder, let’s say Documents. 3. Connect your external hard drive to your computer. Once the computer detects it, you should be able to navigate through your hard drive via the Windows Explorer or the Finder in Mac. 4. Copy your files to your external hard drive. By going through the Finder or My PC, select your Documents folder where everything is that you want to back up. Make sure you copy the folder; dragging it isn’t always to be trusted. To copy the folder just select it and go to Edit > Copy. Then open your external hard drive via Finder/Explorer and go to Edit > Paste. 5. Do this several times a month. Don’t wait till the end of the month to save everything. It’s even better if you organize your folders in dates so you can only back up whatever you have each week, that way avoid long back-ups. 6. Don’t delete the files in your computer. They work as a back-up in reverse in case anything happens to your external hard drive. 7. Keep your computer and external hard drive separate. Having your external hard drive stolen along with your computer defeats the purpose of backing up your files.

Focus Spring 2011  

Focus Spring 2011: The Green Issue

Focus Spring 2011  

Focus Spring 2011: The Green Issue