Jakarta has become Tim Maitland’s newfound home over the last decade.
As the Head of School at New Zealand School Jakarta, Tim is no stranger in the education sector, starting his career as an English teacher.
Tim shares with Indonesia Expat all the details you need to know about New Zealand School Jakarta and his empowering message that all students, not just from his school, should know.
Hi, Tim! We’d love to get to know the Head of School at New Zealand School Jakarta (NZSJ) better. Share with us your story, including a fun fact about yourself.
I’m from London, UK and have been living in Indonesia for 10 years now. I began my journey in education as an English teacher and was then given opportunities to take on leadership roles including Head of English, Deputy Head Teacher, Head of Primary and Early Years and now as the Head of School at New Zealand School Jakarta.
I am passionate about teaching English and understanding motivation in young learners. I’m also very enthusiastic about sports and the arts. I believe that providing a well-rounded education is essential for children.
A fun fact about me is that I was once a Junior High Jump champion in the UK.
What brought you to Jakarta in the first place?
I first came to Jakarta out of a desire to travel the world and experience something new. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and learn and experience life in another part of the globe. I had a few offers to teach in other countries but Indonesia stood out because of the amazing places I could travel to. I was particularly interested in going to Yogyakarta, Lake Toba, and Bromo. I thought I might stay for a couple of years and then move back to London or move to another country, but I’m still here now, 10 years later with my family. Jakarta now feels like home.
Describe NZSJ in five words.
Welcoming. Family-oriented. Progressive. Impactful. Engaging.
As the school follows the New Zealand curriculum, what important factors of this curriculum do parents need to know about?
The curriculum is progressive and well-rounded. It encourages an inquiry approach to learning where students are actively involved in the learning process. The five key strands of our early years’ framework are exploration, contribution, communication, wellbeing, and belonging. We feel this sets a great foundation for children and their development.
We value play as a mode of learning and we aim to keep children’s interest and curiosity alive as they grow and develop through the years. We integrate and connect our subjects together through our units of inquiry and we place emphasis on teaching children how to learn.
In fact, our secondary students have a specific class about this called “Learning to Learn”. This class enables students to take control and responsibility for their learning, understand the process, and give them the tools to become active and reflective learners.
What makes NZSJ special amongst the other international schools in the capital?
We are a small school and we use that to our advantage. We do this by creating an environment where children feel a sense of connection and belonging to their teachers and peers and by placing emphasis on personalised learning. We aim to provide a space in which children of all ages can feel safe and happy. We recognise that small schools are not for everyone but, for those looking for a place for their child to grow into themselves in a family-oriented setting, a small school may be perfect.
List the facilities both students and parents can benefit from at NZSJ.
Although our campus is small, we have newly renovated classrooms, music and art rooms, a science lab, and a basketball court. In addition, we have a cosy library and spacious learning environments that allow for flexible seating arrangements and classroom layouts. In pre-COVID times, our lobby area would be utilised by parents as they drop off and pick up their children. Coffee and tea would be served and parents would gather to catch up and have a chat. This might not be able to happen for some time, but I do look forward to the day when we can have that warm and interactive atmosphere again.
The school follows the concept of Ako. Can you briefly explain this?
Ako is a Maori concept that refers to the reciprocal relationship between teaching and learning. It recognises that both teachers and learners can bring knowledge to learning interactions and that understanding can grow out of shared experiences. It emphasises the idea that teachers are also learners and can learn from their students.
Building positive relationships using the ako approach will help to make children feel valued, connected, and immersed in the learning environment because their contributions and their voice will be heard and respected. At a time when we feel we don’t have much control of the events unfolding around us, providing a sense of control and autonomy over our own learning can be powerful.
It’s been over a year of online, remote learning, how has NZSJ approached this?
I am amazed at how the teachers and children have responded to online learning. I am inspired by their resilience, creativity, and adaptability. We understand that learning can take place anywhere, so our emphasis has been on viewing each child as capable learners who can achieve great things whether we are online or at school.
We’ve worked closely with parents who have been incredibly supportive and have had to also adapt and persevere through these changes. We feel like we’ve found the right balance between Zoom classes and independent work time, but we’re all very excited to go back to school and see the children face to face again.
And soon, the new normal learning or face-to-face learning will occur – that is, if the government’s plan goes to schedule. Will there be significant changes introduced?
We’ll be implementing all the health and safety protocols required to ensure the environment is safe for children to return. We’ll be spending time re-integrating children back to the school environment and going over the health and safety protocols. We’ll also re-establish other school habits and routines that children haven’t had in quite some time.
Moreover, we’ll also dedicate time to focus on our mental wellbeing, which is so important during times of stress and change. Another key thing we’ll continue to place emphasis on is how we can continue to be adaptable and how we can respond to change.
As an educator, what message would you like your students to remember, Tim?
I’d like them to remember that they’re capable learners who can achieve great heights. I’d like them to remember that they’re valued and that their voice is heard and respected. I want them to remember that the journey or the process is more valuable than the destination or result. I want them to feel empowered and understand that learning is like collecting treasure that can never be taken away from them. The treasure they collect are not physical objects, they’re experiences, knowledge, skills, and wisdom that nurture their mind, body, and soul.
How can our readers get in touch?
Please visit us at www.nzsj.sch.id for information, updates and announcements. Follow us on Instagram at @nzs.jakarta. You can also reach out directly to us by emailing us at [email protected].
Thank you, Tim! Stay healthy and safe.