We continue the Little Steps Talking Heads series, where parents can meet, greet, and get tips from Singapore’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 Dr Von Auer, Head of Integrated International School.
1. Do you have a nickname?
My students lovingly call me “Dr. V”. When I first started the Integrated International School (IIS) in 2009, one particular preschooler found it very difficult to address me as Dr. von Auer. He decided that Dr. V would be a good approximation. One year later, one of my female teens thought it sounded “cooler”. This nickname, which I think aptly represents the type of individual relationships I have with my students, stuck ever since then.
2. Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I am a third culture kid of German-Chinese descent. I was born in Germany and grew up there, Hong Kong and Singapore.
3. Where do you live in the city and why do you love it there?
I live in the Holland area and love its “suburban”, family feel. Its distance from “downtown” Singapore and the CBD is just enough to escape the daily hustle and bustle. Yet, I am close enough to enjoy the luxury of its shopping, dining and culture whenever I desire. The culinary delights the Holland area offers is vast and varied, there is something for everyone! The community is diverse and I have everything I need on a daily basis only a short drive away – including work.
4. What's in your lunchbox?
Nothing too exciting, usually something that is healthy and that I can eat quickly as lunch time is usually a busy time with students coming to visit and/or staff to attend to. When I have a more leisurely lunch, I like to get the delicious and healthy Teriyaki Chicken sandwich at one of the café’s in our building, where our older students also love to have meals together.
1. What or who inspired you to become a head?
I was a Clinical Psychologist first. I started the Integrated International School because of the children I met in my private practice in 2008. Five children, who were just not ready for the big, international school setting, and needed a more intimate and individual approach to either prepare them for such an environment or to support them in their academic and overall success, actioned me to provide a unique school for them and all of the other amazing students that have followed thereafter.
2. Describe your school in 5 words or less!
Inspirational, innovative, supportive, empowering, unique.
1. What's your favorite thing on your desk and why?
A photo of my family, and a photo of our first students in our first classroom of IIS in 2009. Both of these keep me focused on what life is about – to love, to pursue passions and to be happy.
2. What are your 3 favorite children's books?
Pippi Longstocking, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Very Hungry Caterpillar
1. What is the best way for parents to be involved in their children’s education?
Build a close and trusting relationship with the child’s teachers. This relationship helps children understand that parents and school are a team, which naturally influences how positive they view school. Attend school events when you can to further enhance your relationships with the school faculty and to demonstrate an interest in your child’s school life.
2. Any tips for parents when applying for schools?
Don’t get sold on the “bling”. Fancy facilities do not teach your children life lessons. Research the school’s ethos, teaching approach and people. As expatriates in Singapore there are many options available to families. Bigger, or the most expensive does not always equate to better. Choose what feels right for your child and family.
3. What's the best advice a teacher or headmistress ever gave you?
Aim for the moon because even if you fall short, you will have achieved greater heights than you could have imagined.
Integrated International School
41 Sunset Way
#02-03/04 Clementi Arcade
+62 6466 4475