Here at ASH we are grateful to have such a diverse community of students, families and staff from all around the world. Each member of our community brings their own background and story to make up the diversity of cultures and experiences we are all lucky to learn from and contribute to the #ASHexperience. In our ASH Voices series we are speaking with and learning more about these members of our community. We’ll be learning about their passions both in their roles at ASH and in their life outside of school, what it means to them to be a part of this community and much, much more.
Today’s profile features Mr. Bourque, our grade 8 science teacher and grade 8 team leader. He grew up in Illinois, spending lots of time outdoors and participating in school activities. Running and basketball were two passions of Mr. Bourque’s as an adolescent and they still are today. Although he does admit, “it's been a while since I've shot some hoops.” Mr. Bourque studied Biology and Education at Drake University, before moving to the mountains of Colorado, where he fell in love with the high country, rock climbing, and snowboarding. He still sees Colorado as his official U.S. 'home base', but has lived and taught in Kuwait, Hong Kong, and now the Netherlands with his wife Emily and son Louis. “Louis is in TK at ASH and we feel very fortunate to be living here and having him attend this amazing school!”
We asked Mr. Bourque some questions about his life here at ASH and how the last several months have been working and adapting throughout the COVID-19 pandemic...
How long have you been at ASH and what does the #ASHexperience mean to you?
This is my third year teaching at ASH. To me, the #ASHexperience is all about being a learner. We adults and children should take control of our own learning, contribute our perspectives to the learning community, and be open to learning from others. With this mindset, a more meaningful and authentic 'experience' is achieved. I love that we try to stay as true as possible to our ASH Core Values which really drive the #ASHexperience. I also think that the #ASHexperience is about a high quality education and that we should strive to maintain a balance between quality of outcomes and quantity of outcomes.
What are your passions?
I most certainly love the natural world and learning more about it. There is SO much that we don't know, and that is very exciting to me! I appreciate the new challenges that come everyday with teaching and leadership. To me, teaching and leadership are, to their cores, about helping others, which I find quite rewarding. Outside of work, family time brings me great joy as well as trail running, rock climbing, hiking, or making LEGO creations with Louis.
How have the last several months impacted you and what are the lessons you have learned that you will be taking forward in your teaching at ASH?
I'm kind of a laid back person in that I usually just roll with new challenges - shifting to adaptation mode rather than 'flight' mode. Recognizing this, I have been eager to help others who may for example have needed extra tech help during our VLE last Spring. Through helping others, I learn more about myself through trial and error while developing my own problem solving skills. Moving forward, I'm reminded again and again through all this to not take anything for granted and to treasure our in-person time together. And, above all, adapting to a new environment takes some failing forward and occurs best when we all extend extra kindness and patience towards others.
If you could give our students at ASH one piece of advice what would it be?
Some advice: Keep knowing yourself and always be yourself. Always be kind to others (nature included).
A plea: Appreciate nature and commit to actions in your life that will help make Earth better than how you found it.
If you weren't a teacher what other job would you like to do?
This is very difficult to answer....a school principal, a physical therapist, or an environmentalist / naturalist, like Sir David Attenborough (but seriously, there's only one Sir David Attenborough). I find neuroscience, astrobiology, and carpentry/building all quite intriguing too!