As our expansion into Asia continues, so does the opportunity to grow our international team. Today we introduce you to our newest EPeep, Helen Prior! Helen brings a wealth of experience having taught at international schools across Asia and the Middle East for over a decade. She has a strong passion for education and teacher development which aligns so well with our culture and values. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome someone of Helen’s calibre to our world-class team and look forward to seeing the impact she will be having in schools across Asia.    

“There are SO many international schools globally that would benefit from the amazingness of EP, and I am excited about all of the rewards and challenges that lie ahead for our new international team!” 

Meet Helen

Hello! Originally from Welly, I studied at Otago, taught at St Margaret’s College in Christchurch for a couple of years and then headed off in clichéd fashion for my OE. A decade later…and I’m still overseas!

As a teacher, my speciality was Secondary English and Drama and I loved helping students ‘find their voice’, build confidence and develop transferable skills. As a curriculum leader, I loved getting involved in curriculum design and whole-school curriculum mapping work – many international schools are ‘through schools’ (for students aged 3-18) and therefore the opportunities to build coherent learning pathways are really exciting (and challenging!)

I taught for three years in Dubai and then enjoyed four fabulous years in Hong Kong, which is where I met my future husband Matt and we had our first child, Charlotte. I somehow squashed in a Master’s degree and a wedding before moving to Kuala Lumpur in 2015.  

Why did you make Kuala Lumpur your home?

In short: we were offered amazing jobs at one of the region’s best international schools, Garden International School. My husband joined as Deputy Head of Secondary, and I joined as their Key Stage 3 English leader. A couple of promotions, another child, lots of great holidays and plenty of tropical sunshine later, we are still here! 

KL might not have the beauty and dynamism of Hong Kong or the luxuries of Dubai, but the quality of family life here is amazing and the food is fantastic! Also, some of the international schools here really sit amongst the world’s best. 

Most proud of

In 2018, I established Malaysia’s first school consultancy service for families. Professionally it has been fascinating visiting and researching so many international schools in KL (nearly 40!), and personally it has been very rewarding helping families make fully-informed school choices. 

 

 

Why become an EPeep?

I’ve known about EP for many years – many of the schools I’ve worked in internationally have used and loved it. It is an outstanding platform, and one that I truly believe can make students’ and teachers’ lives better! The opportunity to come onboard as one of the first International EPeeps and spread the EP love worldwide was just an offer I couldn’t refuse 🙂 

 

 

Favourite features

Too many to mention but my top two are: 

  • I love the way it encourages teachers to actively engage with student data on a regular basis; 
  • I’m passionate about how EP can improve teacher efficacy and free up planning and marking time, meaning more time for and with students. 

Most excited about

The world is literally EP’s oyster! There are SO many international schools globally that would benefit from the amazingness of EP, and I am excited about all of the rewards and challenges that lie ahead for our new international Team! 

EP in three

It can self-mark. It makes differentiation super easy. Check out these amazing data reports and the instant remedial tasks it suggests! 

(Yes you’re right, it’s pretty much magic and yes, you CAN have a free trial!)

The potential

Here in Asia, disruptions this academic year – including the political upheaval and protests in Hong Kong (school closures), the haze here in Malaysia (more school closures), and now Covid-19 (even more school closures) – have really highlighted to schools the need to come up with a robust ‘Plan B’ . Online learning is largely untapped here at the moment, and yet could be such a game changer, particularly for senior students – to ensure learning doesn’t get disrupted. 

In addition, the majority of international schools are inclusive and accept students from a broad range of academic backgrounds and abilities, including many EAL students. This can pose a challenge – especially given that expectations for exam results here are usually sky-high! As a result, anything that helps support teachers to flip learning, differentiate effectively and use data to boost student progress and attainment is a real winner in my eyes (cough EP cough)! 

Over the next three months, my focus will be on building and nurturing positive relationships built on trust and mutual respect with the international schools I’ll be looking after. I really believe those relationships are the key to everything moving forward! 

Thanks so much Helen, we’re excited to welcome someone of Helen’s calibre to our world-class team and look forward to seeing the impact Helen will have in schools across Asia.

A final note from Helen:

“Thank you to all of the EPeeps for making me feel so welcome, and especially to Dia Jalil who has been such a huge help in these early days. I feel very lucky to be joining such a positive, passionate and supportive team!”