Panthers of ISKL #222: The Teaching Couple

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Published: Wednesday, 19 June, 2024

Meet Liz and Tom Pasquini, newly minted alumni faculty who joined the ISKL community during the challenging times of the 2020 lockdowns. Having just completed four years of service at ISKL, they embark on a new chapter in their teaching careers in Muscat, Oman. It’s worth noting that Tom attended ISKL for Grades 11 and 12 and is a valued alumni teacher and an alumni student of the school.

Here is their story:


Pasquini Family

Do tell us more about yourself.

Liz: I was born and raised outside Boston and attended college at Dartmouth in New Hampshire, where I majored in Physics. I met my husband there—he was my lab partner! He had just graduated from ISKL, and his parents were still living in Kuala Lumpur at the time. He told me it was his dream to teach overseas and eventually persuaded me to join him on overseas adventures.

Growing up, my parents started the game company Gamewright, and I enjoyed inventing games for them. I wanted to go into the field of educational media, so after graduation, I worked at LeapFrog. But soon realized I wanted to work directly with young people, so I returned to school and earned a Doctorate of Education from Harvard. After that, I worked as a psycho-educational evaluator and special educator in Vermont, Taipei, and now Kuala Lumpur, where I teach math.

Tom: I was born and raised in the southern part of the United States. I moved several times in my youth, the last time to Malaysia, where I was a student at ISKL for Grades 11 and 12!

At Dartmouth College, I developed my two passions for physics and education, and more importantly, I met my wife, Liz. Since then, the two of us have lived, studied, and worked across the United States and in Asia.

I have worked in public high schools in California and Vermont, a boarding school in New Hampshire, and two IASAS schools (Taipei American School and ISKL). Along the way, I earned my PhD in atomic physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

When and why did you join ISKL? What were your first days like?

Liz: I joined ISKL in 2020 during the pandemic. It was a stressful transition. In my first days, I Zoomed into my classes, first from Taipei and then from a quarantine hotel, as we had trouble getting into the country.

Tom: I joined the ISKL faculty in 2020 during Covid. Those first few weeks had a lot of novelty:

  • Meeting my new faculty cohort on Zoom from my empty apartment in Taipei.
  • Having instructional materials disinfected and delivered by front-line workers in quarantine.
  • Teaching my classes as a face projected on the board in a classroom I’d never seen.

But once we were cleared to enter the country, I remember all the smiles from my department team and students when I made it to ISKL for the first time on a Friday afternoon.

Tom, you used to be an alumni student here. What made you decide to return as faculty?

Tom: Being an ISKL alumni was the primary reason I work as an international teacher! The teachers I had were inspirational educators and role models for how to live as citizens of the world. The life that they could offer to their children was one that I wanted for my own children: the immersion into new cultures and languages, the cross-cultural peer group, and the strong academics.

Elizabeth with her students

Describe your most memorable moment/s at ISKL.

Liz: My most memorable moment at ISKL was almost falling out of my boat while whitewater rafting during Malaysia Week!

Tom: At the EARCOS conference in Thailand, my ISKL English teacher, Tom Rosevear, recognized my name on the attendees’ list! We had a chance to reconnect after years and share stories of our travels since I was his student.

What will you miss most about ISKL?

Liz: So many things! The Middle School performance assembly will probably be the thing I miss the most. I love seeing students take risks and show off their talents!

Tom: Saying hello to security guard Mr. Norzuki and all the other guards each morning when I ride into school. The community at ISKL is amazing.

Do you have any advice to offer for new faculty members who are joining the community?

Liz: The more you learn about your students, the more amazing this community becomes. Don’t be shy about asking your students what they like to do for fun in the city—you will discover many amazing adventures that way!

Tom: Everyone at ISKL has a story to share.

Elizabeth with her friends

Who or what is your source of inspiration?

Liz: I am always inspired and energized by my students. Seeing them persist through challenges to grow and learn inspires me to do the same.

What are your plans once you leave ISKL?

Liz: We are headed to Muscat, Oman, to keep teaching and have adventures in a new part of the world.

Tom: I am headed for new adventures in Oman.

Pasquini Family by the beach

What does ‘“Know yourself, care for all, and create a better world”’ mean to you?

Liz: One of the best things we can do for others is to know and share ourselves with them. Being intentional with my students about revealing my weaknesses and challenges helps them have the confidence to confront challenges and support others in doing the same.

Tom: When you use your skills and talents for the betterment of others, you help to bend the arc of history.


 

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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