This is the first installation of our new column, Get to Know Your Teachers! The column will feature interviews with faculty members at ISD, both returning and new! The first edition is with Mrs. Leinbach, our IB TOK and IB History teacher!
Let's start from the beginning. How long have you been at ISD?
This is my fourth year. [Before that] I was in Bangkok at the Ruamrudee International School.
Wow. How many countries have you lived in?
Well, teaching is actually my second career. Educationally, I’ve worked in three countries—the US, Bangkok and here. But before I went into education, I actually have a background in international development and I lived in a lot of different countries and did a lot of traveling when I was posted in Washington D.C.
So what inspired you to switch over to teaching?
You know, here I laugh everyday. I can see the difference and working with kids is just the best.
What do you teach at ISD?
I teach IB History and IB Theory of Knowledge. And I’m the Extended Essay Coordinator.
Do you like teaching History and TOK?
Oh, I’m totally passionate about it. I love the IB History. The Higher Level kids specialize in African history, so by the time they graduate they are the world’s 17 and 18 year old experts in African history. I’m super proud of them.
So, how is ISD different from past schools you’ve worked at?
The community here definitely stands out. It’s different than other schools, and I find that the students are much more supportive rather than competitive and I think that lends itself to a really great educational environment. It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to support each other and use each other’s strengths to build up any weaknesses.
How would you describe students at ISD?
They tend to be quite worldly. At one point, when I first got here, I had one class with 14 students-- they had lived in 49 different countries. And that enhances the educational environment because they all have prior knowledge they can bring in, they have different perspectives. They are flexible, which goes back to the supportive community aspect. They’ve all been the new one, they’ve all had culture shock. They can switch between language in sentences, it’s amazing. So, that’s something I really appreciate—their perspective and outlook. And they think it’s totally normal. You know, the conversations in class are different from other schools that I’ve taught at.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
Well I’ve been camping quite literally since I was a few months old, and I’m happiest off the grid. I love camping. I love being outdoors and backpacking...I like being out in the middle of nowhere.
Any favorite outdoors place around Senegal?
Most important question: what's your favorite meal at Shady’s?
I like the garlic sauce! Whatever it is, as long as it’s smothered in that garlic sauce!