ACS Egham’s new head of school Mark Wilson talks us through his own teaching journey
How are you settling into life at ACS Egham?
It has been a fantastic start. I have been made to feel so welcome by students, staff, the school community and the wider ACS International School group. From the very moment you step inside ACS International School Egham, you can feel this enthusiasm for learning – and it is great to be a part of this extra-special family of ACS International Schools.
What do you enjoy most about the school?
For me, it’s the students – they are inspirational, innovative, dynamic, engaging and have a real passional for learning. Coupled with the dedicated, hardworking staff we have at the school, ACS Egham delivers an exceptional learning environment, which allows young people to take command of their own learning journey.
Are you planning on making any changes?
Ultimately, I want to build on the successful foundations the school already has. Part of this is trying to blend the beautiful, traditional 20-acre campus we have with increased innovation and dynamism so that we have the best of both, and can go above and beyond with our educational delivery.
How does your background in drama influence your work?
Drama has taught me that life is all about people and relationships. Through communication and collaboration – key skills and abilities needed in drama – we are stronger and can achieve so much more. I also took part in lots of team sport when I was younger, which again, relies on the same principles for success.
What is the best thing about working in an international school?
It is difficult to pinpoint it to just one thing. However, I think it has to be the diversity of the learning community. Embracing diversity, be it a different culture, religion or country, and recognising that people have different experiences, enriches our students’ lives for the better. At ACS Egham, we also instil international-mindedness into our young people, which means we embrace diversity and welcome different perspectives.
Tell us about your time working in international schools abroad.
I started my career in education in England, but have worked at international schools around the world; from Shanghai, China to Texas, USA. Both were British education schools, so we needed to ensure we embraced the host nation, while bringing the standards and practices that British education is respected for. Both schools had 70 plus nationalities so it made for an incredibly unique environment and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to bring what I learnt to ACS Egham.
What is your favourite play or who is your favourite playwright?
An all-time favourite play of mine has got to be Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. It tackles some of life’s important questions with humour, in a way that is engaging and appealing for the audience. I believe that humour and comedy are very powerful tools and can be used to tackle serious issues.
Tell us about a school memory or teacher who made an impression on you.
I had a PE teacher called Mr Sykes and a dance teacher called Mrs Johnson, both of whom had a balance of being encouraging and supportive, but still wanted me to do better and push myself. In my view, people who give you confidence, but always want to challenge you to go beyond what you think you are capable of, are the best, most inspiring type of teacher.
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