In this recurring series, we invite readers to find out more about the incredible people that make TAS the vibrant learning community we know and love.
By Sophie Tsai, Communications Officer and Upper School Mandarin Teacher
People sometimes refer to the idea of “living in a bubble'', the idea that we sometimes are so comfortable in our daily lives involving school, work, family, and friendships that we do not ask many questions about what might be happening in the wider world, or why those things might be happening.
I grew up in a bubble. I was born in Taipei in the 1960s, a city under martial law. The local education system I went through did not encourage questioning or curiosity. I moved from my educational bubble to another bubble, which was TAS. I was probably considered doing quite well in the “Taiwan bubble,” as someone who went through the local education system and later worked at TAS for 15 years, as the executive assistant to three different Heads of School.
In 2010 I left the safety and the expectations of the Taiwan and TAS bubbles for the adventure of new cultures beyond this island. In those 10 years working overseas, when people showed interest in asking about Taiwan, I realized how little I knew about this place that I called“home” because I rarely asked questions, and I took things for granted while I was in that bubble.
I started asking myself, what does it mean to be a Taiwanese? What are my roots? Is Taiwan a part of China? Is Taiwan a country? Many of these questions are deeply personal. And some of them are even dangerous to answer, depending on who you are talking to and where you are in the world. But they are necessary questions to ask ourselves, whether we are students, staff, administrators, parents, or alumni. They are necessary because each of us may have a different answer and a different point of view that in turn influences the way we see each other.
Like our graduates, the time away from the bubble both forced me to try to find answers and encouraged me to learn more about myself and Taiwan.
Many of my students consider Taiwan their home and this makes me wonder, as our school prepares them to be global citizens when it comes to the time for them to leave to pursue their dreams, do they have a solid understanding, or pride, about their own roots and their identities? As a learning community, we can do more, and we should do more, to engage them so they are curious about their roots and proud of their identities before they leave Taiwan for the wider world.
As part of our JEDI initiative, discussions about identity have been taking place among faculty, students, parents, and staff members. As an upper school Mandarin teacher, my senior students discuss their pride and challenges that are associated with their identities. They find it helpful to have this type of conversation before leaving the bubbles. It is reassuring to know that they are not alone when facing certain challenges.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I feel grateful to have the opportunity to work with students who are curious to find out more about their identities before leaving their bubbles.
Ms. Tsai working with upper school students in the Initiative Formosa club's outreach program at Jianshi Jr. High School in Hsinchu county.
「TAS Voices 來自社群成員的心聲」: 走出了台北美國學校的泡泡後我更珍惜這裡的一切
在「TAS Voices 來自社群成員的心聲」這個文章系列裡，我們邀請讀者加入我們的行列，來認識在我們身邊讓這個學習社群充滿充滿活力的成員，也聽聽他們的故事和心聲
作者: 蔡麗紅, 通譯專員 暨高中中文老師
在我目前台北美國學校的學生中，很多人也認為台灣就是他們的家鄉。這讓我不禁要問—在離開這片土地去追尋夢想前，在成為全球公民時，對於自己從哪裡來，到底是誰，根在哪裡，他們是否了解呢? 對於自己的身分和背景，他們是否懷有一份驕傲呢? 在離開他們的家鄉之前，我們能做什麼來讓對他們的根感到好奇，並為他們的身份感到自豪? 作為一個學習社群，我們還可以做得更多，也應該做得更多。