Amy Zuber Meehan joins ASIJ from Singapore American School where she most recently served as a high school deputy principal. During her 16 years there, she was also an English teacher and an instructional coach. Amy’s first years teaching were at a large all-girls high school in Auckland, New Zealand, and a small pre-K–8 school in Bruce County, Ontario, Canada where she calls home. Amy earned a BA and a BEd from Queen’s University and a MA in Educational Administration from Michigan State University. Amy’s husband, Philip, serves as an elementary school counselor, and their two children are also members of the ASIJ community.
I have learned to expect the unexpected! Eighteen months ago, schools completely reinvented themselves practically overnight, and educators the world over embraced the challenge to keep students learning on virtual platforms. It taught me about the need to be willing to rethink what I thought I knew about how schools work — we can be agile, we can try on new ways to learn, we can let some topics go so that we focus on the most essential. I’ve also learned to ask what is most essential? The global pandemic and the call for true diversity, equity and inclusion have highlighted for me that as international educators, what’s essential is that we must turn our aspirations for our students into reality. We have always aspired to help our students become globally minded citizens, and now we’re seeing the compelling and urgent need to do so. We need to move from hoping our students have the skills to be resilient, empathic, responsible, engaged citizens to ensuring that they are so. It’s the best way forward to solve the complex challenges that our world is facing.
Whether a student was a part of the herd for one semester or their entire high school career, I hope our alumni look back on their time at ASIJ with a feeling of being known, valued and cared for. It’s this focus on a sense of belonging and connection to one another that most attracted me to ASIJ. Since joining the community, I’ve heard from a lot of alumni, and so far, the lasting memories they tell me about are usually a connection with their friends, their teachers, their coaches and their club sponsors. They tell me about the service trip they planned, or the team they were on, or the performance they were a part of, and, often, the teacher who made a difference in the trajectory of their lives. My wish is that all of our Mustangs have similar fond memories of being known and seen through the relationships they formed at ASIJ.
Pre-pandemic, I was lucky enough to visit the Nakasendo Way every winter when I’d sponsor a class trip to the region. Each time, I marveled at the culture, scenery, and food. Oh, and the weather, too, since I was living in the tropics! I am excited to see even more of Japan and to bring my family along for the adventure. We plan to go camping and hiking frequently once it is safe to do so, to find a favoriteramen shop, to take the train around Tokyo to explore various neighbourhoods, and to wear sweaters and boots. We are deciding whether or not we want to learn how to ski. I’m also looking forward to slowly learning Japanese and I welcome others helping me to practice.
Usually our mornings are pretty slow as none of us are morning people yet! We’ll make a family breakfast, connect with loved ones in Canada or in other countries, and then head off in the early afternoon for a family adventure. We might go for a walk or a bike ride that takes us to a new restaurant, or we might jump on the train to check out a new neighbourhood. We’re really looking forward to being able to do weekend trips, too, to go camping near the beach or the mountains. I’m sure some of our weekends will also be filled with conversations about when we might get a dog!