Stories from our international boarding schools

Meet the team – psychology with Divya Jesudoss

The teaching faculty at EF Academy New York come from very diverse backgrounds and bring a wealth of knowledge to share with our students. Please meet Divya Jesudoss, a teacher of psychology that joined EF Academy New York this year!

Tell us about your background:

I started my career in India, teaching at the university level in the MBA program for several years. While working as a professor, I realized that a lot of the decisions that students were making about their futures and their goals had already been made prior to entering university. I realized that I wanted to be part of that decision-making process, to be a mentor and support system for students as they think about how they identify themselves, what talents they have, and how they want to use those talents in their careers. Because of this desire to be able to connect to my students on a more personal level, I switched to teaching in the IB program.

What is your favorite part about teaching the IBDP?

I love teaching the IB program because I really enjoy its holistic approach to learning. I love the fact that there is structured teaching and learning, but that this structure is balanced with lots of opportunities to extend teaching and learning beyond the classroom. The flexibility and the ability to go beyond a curriculum and connect with relevant, real-life phenomena is such an exciting part of teaching IB.

Tell us about some of the activities you’ve been doing in your classes.

As a teacher, one of the bests gifts you can give a classroom is to give them occasions and activities so that they can apply their learning. One of the ways I thought we could do this is by expanding the audience that the students are presenting to: rather than just work for themselves as independent learners, or working in pairs or groups where they’re sharing ideas and contributing to each other’s learning within the classroom, we want our students to be building accountability to our immediate community in the school. Based on these principles, we created “Psychoholics Autonomous,” a silly name for a forum of students who are independent learners addicted to psychology.

We wanted to share evidence-based suggestions for what students can take away and use in their preparations for the forthcoming exams. The students did independent research on various aspects of beating stress, managing time, improving memory, improving note-taking skills and so on. They compiled all their research into interactive presentations and shared their findings with the school during lunchtime one day. During the afternoon when they presented their projects, they really enjoyed talking about what they learned and they enjoyed making a difference in someone else’s exam prep as well, whether it meant handing out food samples or talking about better food options during a time of high stress, or doing a fun game to share information about whether you’re left- or right-brain dominated and how your study skills can be adapted accordingly.

Do you have any final thoughts or words of wisdom to share?

I don’t see myself as merely a subject teacher, but rather as a teacher focused on the whole student. A subject (especially a subject like psychology) is a great excuse to be able to influence their thinking and their lives in a positive way. What I really enjoy about psychology is that usually students sign up for this course either because they are searching for answers to questions about themselves, or about someone really close to them. I love that I get to be a part of this exploration as these students develop themselves holistically and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

 


 

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