Bangkok ServICE 2015: Synergy

Bangkok ServICE 2015: Synergy

This past weekend, International School Bangkok hosted the 4th annual Bangkok ServICE Conference. Connecting students and educators across about a dozen schools, the Conference in its fourth iteration continued to inspire, connect and empower its participants. Including me.

The theme this year was “Synergy.”

the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

We feel this sentiment repeated a lot, especially in our line of work, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, that by collaborating together, we can achieve so much more.

And, you know what? Clichè as it is, it’s true.

I remember the very first meeting, four-and-a-half years ago between a handful of teachers at ISB discussing this idea that we should maybe do something together, with our students, around service. We really didn’t know at that time what it would be. We just knew that it should be.

And now, four years later, it has been. It is. Will continue to be.

And that is awesome!

Today, the teacher chaperones from the different schools met to discuss where we’re headed next year while students busily worked away on action plans addressing a range of issues from combating human trafficking to helping out street cats and dogs. Personally, it was sad to recognize that it was going to be the last official meeting I would share with Chris Tananone, an educator at ISB who inspires me with her boundless energy and deep commitment to service. Next year, Chris, who has championed service learning and global citizenship since before these terms were buzzwords in education will retire and I will sorely miss her presence in our Bangkok network.

But during that meeting, I felt this great sense of comfort.

This comfort that though Chris is retiring, that though the each of the 20 odd educators in the room will undoubtedly eventually leave this network as we repatriate, move onto different schools, or change roles, the network will continue to live on through student collaborations and future educator connections. Synergy.

The Bangkok ServICE network won’t save the world. But I can’t help but think that if more people continue to put their minds, hearts, and energies together, we just may — here we go with the cliches again — make it a bit of a better place.

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