In this Meet & Greet, we speak to Mike Carrigan, Assistant Principal at EtonHouse International School Thomson.
Mike is from the UK and he has been living and working in Singapore with EtonHouse for more than 8 years. He was a classroom teacher for 5 years at EtonHouse Thomson and EtonHouse International Pre-School Mountbatten 718. Over the last three years he has moved into leadership positions initially at Mountbatten 718 and now at Thomson. Mike’s approach to education is strongly influenced by the work of the educators in Reggio Emilia and particularly their philosophy and beliefs regarding children.
- Tell us about your role at EtonHouse Thomson?
In my role as the curriculum coordinator, I work predominately on the development and implementation of the curriculum at the school as part of the pedagogical leadership team. It includes supporting the collaborative planning processes at the school, working closely with teachers, and looking at ways of further developing the curriculum in the school. Additionally, as the Assistant Principal, I work to support the principal in all aspects of running the school.
My day starts with collaborative planning meetings. I meet with teachers of different year levels each day, and we either plan for, discuss or reflect on their units of inquiry and connections to the curriculum. Following these meetings, I greet members of our community at the front door. The rest of my day usually consists of collaborative planning meetings with specialist teachers, supporting organisational aspects of the school, going into classes, or working on some of the long term development projects that we have at the school.
- What motivated you to become an educator?
My parents were both teachers and their influence had a huge impact on my decision to become an educator, despite their best efforts to persuade me otherwise. Our conversations around the dinner table often focused on learning, teaching or the way their schools were run, and it all fascinated me. This interest in education and schools never went away and therefore teaching was the only job I really considered.
- What is your favourite part of working with children of this age range?
I think the openness that children have to new ideas, experiences and ways of thinking about the world is very powerful. Each group of children is made up of very different individuals which means that each class has unique inquiries and different interests every year. Working on these inquiries and now working with teachers who are working on these inquiries is a privilege.
My wife and I now have two young children so it would be difficult to say that there is any "free" time anymore. As a family, we enjoy swimming and getting outdoors to places like the Botanic Gardens, West Coast Park or McRitchie reservoir. I also enjoy reading a lot.
- How long have you been in Singapore? What do you like about this city?
I have been in Singapore for eight years and love it. To me, it is hard to imagine another city as green as Singapore. Having grown up in the countryside in the UK, I appreciate that I live in a city that is so closely connected to nature. As someone who grew up under grey skies, I also think the weather is amazing.
- If you weren’t an educator, what would be your next career choice?
I can't really imagine a life away from schools. It would need to be something that I believed in and felt I was contributing to the world in a positive way.
- What’s one piece of advice you have for parents with children in their early years and primary?
I hope always to show interest in the things that my children are passionate as I feel this is the best way to support people. I feel that I have been lucky in that what I do every day is something that I love. I hope by supporting my children as a parent to explore and develop their interests it may help them to find something they love to do as well.