Panthers of ISKL #176: Sylvain Jacques – The IB French and Food Tech Educator

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POISKL Sylvain Jacques- Thumb

“One thing that I love about education is that you are never done! There is always something to learn – I feel so blessed!”

Meet Sylvain Jacques, an IB French and Food Tech Teacher who joined the ISKL community in 2016. Sylvain was born in a province of Quebec, Canada, and after living in the cities of Quebec and Vancouver, worked at an international school in Beijing, China, for 12 years. Apart from furthering his cooking skills at Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia, Sylvain enjoys photography, and exercising in his spare time.

Here is Sylvain’s story:


A picture of the countryside.
A picture of the countryside near where Sylvain grew up.

Please tell us more about yourself.

I was born in the countryside in the province of Quebec in Canada and grew up in a beautiful small village, enjoying the outdoors.
When I turned 16, I moved to the city of Quebec to study Ancient Civilization, and after two years, I decided to do a BEd in Special Education. After my university studies, I moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, and lived there for 20 years.

I worked in different spheres of education, from learning support to classroom teacher to Curriculum coordinator. Then, I decided to complete my Master’s in Leadership and ended up working at Simon Fraser University as a Faculty Associate and lecturer for over ten years.

The lake near Sylvain’s family cottage.
The lake near Sylvain’s family cottage.

In 2004, I was ready for a new challenge and decided to jump at the chance of going international. I moved to China and lived in Beijing for 12 years. What a time that was – I loved every minute! Throughout my first few years of teaching at The International School of Beijing, I realized the concept of HOME and how important my family was, and I also experienced what it was like to be a minority.

What made you decide to join ISKL?

I joined ISKL in 2016. I have always loved Southeast Asia and was thrilled to live in Malaysia. And right from the beginning, I could feel the warmth within the community. At that time, we were on the old campus, and my classroom was just beside the High School (HS) office and right by the canteen. I ate breakfast and lunch outside on those picnic tables every day of the week.

Sylvain with his HS Staff

I was a full-time French teacher when I first arrived here at ISKL. I taught all levels: IB, French SL, and HL. Three years ago, I suggested starting a Food Tech program in HS – and the rest is history. With the support of Jeff Farrington and Patricia Podorsek, the curriculum coordinator, we wrote the curriculum and started the program with one small class. Now, we offer three classes every semester and two different courses.

Sylvain at Le Cordon Blue and with his students


John Dewey

Can you tell us something you are working on now that you are excited about?

One thing that I love about education is that you are never done! There is always something to learn – I feel so blessed!
Sylvain Jacques Profile Photo

For the last forty years, I have been able to learn with all my students. In Food Tech, I am always searching for exciting recipes and new projects. In French, I am always looking for authenticity.

Another club that I am proud of is the ISKL community partnership, the Circle of Alliance for Refugee Empowerment (CARE). I do some cooking after school with refugee students.

Can you tell us more about your hobbies and interests? What do you do after work?

Sylvain loves photography & jogging

My principal hobbies are photography, exercising, and, of course, cooking. I exercise 6 times a week, enjoy walking and swimming, and have a personal trainer. I love taking photographs, especially when I’m traveling.
Who or what inspires you?

My true inspiration is my students. I love to listen to what they say, and I am full of hope for our future.

Do you know of any student, teacher, parent, or staff who always have an anecdote to tell, love to share some insights into their passions and interest, or simply is a Panther through and through? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.

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