Tattooing is the most misunderstood art form in Japan today. Looked down upon for centuries and rarely discussed in social circles, people with tattoos are outcasts in this country, banned from most public spaces such as beaches, bathhouses, and even gyms. Tattoos have an extensive history in Japan, and to truly understand the stigma behind them it is essential to be aware of their significance. The first records of tattoos...Read More
Hi Shasta, tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Shasta Gray, and this is my first year teaching at THINK Global School. I received my master’s in teaching from the University of Alaska and have been teaching since 2012. I consider Alaska home, but I spent three years living and teaching in Thailand before joining TGS.
I’ve always had an affinity for the great outdoors, and love engaging in activities like rock climbing, biking, hiking, running, and yoga, wherever I find myself in the world. My love for being active led me to become a physical education teacher, where I could empower students and improve their lives through sports and recreation.
Some fast facts about me: Elephants are my favorite animal. I love chocolate but not raisins. I enjoy quilting and reading. Lastly, I’m constantly joined on my adventures around the world by my partner Kelsey, who is a guidebook author, climber, and artist.
What is your favorite part about being an educator at THINK Global School?
My favorite part about being an educator is the student-centered approach coupled with a deep respect for experiential learning and the infusion of our core values in the projects and relationships built at TGS.
TGS emphasizes curiosity; as an educator, I receive incredible support in my professional development and learning journey, which empowers me to be a sympathetic and self-aware educator and thus better empower our students.
Is there a particular module or learning experience that stood out to you this year?
The variety of modules, projects, and experiences that TGS provides for the community is vibrant and varied. Over this year, I have found value in every term. However, in reflection, the BioCache module in Oaxaca, Mexico, holds a special place in my heart. Our students spent the majority of their time deeply immersed in nature and examining the different biomes of Oaxaca. We had sessions about environmental development while standing on the tectonic plate divide; we gathered specimens while hiking with local medicinal guides; we swam in bioluminescent waters as part of a session on the impact of eco-tourism and worked with several turtle conservation groups to understand the importance of biodiversity.
Through all of it, our students were encouraged to be curious and empathetic while developing our core value of Ubuntu – to connect to a greater whole.
What advice would you share with prospective students or educators?
Try it! If you are looking for a school that supports exploring your passions and challenges your assumptions, you will find it at TGS. TGS is a school that encourages reflection, supports curiosity, and emphasizes the value of human connection. It is an incredibly demanding and challenging place that constantly pushes you to improve and examine yourself and the world around you. As a member or prospective member of TGS, it is essential to have an open mind, be willing to make mistakes, and be self-driven in your academic independence.
If TGS could hold a term in any country, where would you like to go and why?
If TGS could hold a term in any country, I would choose Bhutan. It is a country surrounded by incredible natural beauty and a robust cultural heritage. It would be an opportunity for our students to experience a way of life off the typical travel path.