The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Ms. Kao, Ms. Chambers, and Mr. Pierce set sail

This year, we’re saying goodbye to eight fantastic high school teachers as they search for new adventures abroad. Here are their stories!
Ms. Kao
In August, former English department head Ms. Kao will be returning to school: but not to the one she has taught in for six years. Instead, she plans on relocating to Harvard to pursue a Ph.D. in education, with a focus on literacy development and educational technology. “While teaching at TAS, I became very interested in how high school students comprehend advanced texts,” she says. “In general, there are many professionals dedicated to studying literacy development, but less of a focus on, for example, how educational technology can be used to support that development at the high school level.”
“My favorite part of teaching has been encouraging students to pursue their dreams, but I couldn’t keep doing it knowing that I wasn’t pursuing my own,” says Ms. Kao.
After she receives her Ph.D., Ms. Kao hopes to pursue a career in research. “I enjoy how quantitative it is,” says Ms. Kao. “I want to measure the effects of interventions on a larger scale.”

Ms. Chambers

Next year, History teacher Ms. Chambers will be relocating to Deerfield Academy to serve as a teacher and swim coach. “I wanted to move there in order to be closer to my family, because most of them are located around the East Coast,” she says. Ms. Chambers spent three years working at TAS, and has quickly become legendary among her students for her animated PowerPoints, daily quizzes, and baked goods. “Even though I’ve only known her for a short period of time, I’ve been able to become really comfortable with her,” says Iris Huang (10), a current student in her AP European History class.

This year’s students, in particular, have spent so much time around Ms. Chambers that Associate Principal Mr. Vandenboom once joked that there was a herd of high schoolers living in her classroom. “Now, she gives me a Jeopardy question every morning so I can let her do her work, but I keep bothering her for the rest of the day anyway,” Iris says. “I’ll miss those questions and her guidance.”

Mr. Pierce

Next year, Upper School Math teacher Mr. Pierce will be relocating to the Khan Lab Schools as their lead math teacher. The school, founded by Sal Khan of the Internet-based educational platform Khan Academy, was founded in 2014 and emphasizes fully developing skills for students through eliminating grades. “I wanted to work somewhere that was experimental,” says Mr. Pierce. “This school doesn’t have grades, or classrooms, it’s really an open work space.”

His work at TAS with higher-level math classes inspired Mr. Pierce to take on a new type of education. “I’m excited to teach in a new way, using project-based learning where students get to go into as much depth on their work as they want,” he says. In TAS, Mr. Pierce has often emphasized personal interest and customized instruction. “In Advanced Topics in Mathematics, Mr. Pierce is always asking us: what do you want to learn?” says Avery Wang (12). Mr. Pierce’s partner, Upper School History teacher Ms. Sakamoto, will also be moving with Mr. Pierce to the San Francisco Bay Area next fall.

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