We continue the Little Steps Talking Heads series, where parents can meet, greet, and get tips from Hong Kong’s Heads of Schools! Get personal with these fabulous personalities and find out what makes them tick, their advice for parents navigating the schooling scene, and their favorite things about life in the city.
In this edition, we say hello to Benjamin Keeling, the Principal of Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong.
1. Do you have a nickname? I think most teachers have probably been given a nickname at one time or another – whether we find out about them is another matter entirely!
2. Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born and grew up in London and remain hugely proud of the creative, compassionate and cosmopolitan people you’ll find there
3. Where do you live in the city and why do you love it there? My wife was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Sai Kung. When we arrived, four years ago, it was an easy place to settle. I love the calm and peaceful surroundings and the spirit of the local community.
4. What's in your lunchbox? I work from an Admissions Office on Des Voeux Road Central, so I rarely need to bring a lunchbox. There are just so many exciting options available on our doorstep!
1. What or who inspired you to become a headmaster? I am hugely passionate about the benefits and influence of primary education. Working with young people and aspirational families is an honour. I feel incredibly fortunate to have been so positively encouraged and supported during a career that continues to allow me to work alongside a great number of exceptional colleagues.
2. Describe your school in 5 words or less! Primary focussed – Community driven - Exceptional.
1. What's your favorite thing on your desk and why? There are lots of important things on my desk, but I am happiest away from it. Developing and building positive relationships with staff, parents and children is the most critical part of my job.
2. What are your 3 favorite children's books?
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education? Stay present and actively engaged during whatever time you have available. Provide various opportunities for play and engagement with others whenever you can. Read to and with your child every day, both during and beyond their early years
2. Any tips for parents when applying for schools? Always meet the Principal – they will play a critical role in shaping the experiences and opportunities available at any school. Trust your instinct – a fantastic school experience requires close, respectful and trusting relationships between staff, children and their families. At Shrewsbury, once a family has decided to commit, we encourage swift application as places are limited and in demand.
3. What's the best advice a teacher or headmistress ever gave you? Risk, reflect and respond…