Cultivating Leadership for a Better Tomorrow
This excerpt showcases the journey of a person whose passion for education knows no bounds and who is committed to changing the lives of many by focusing on the right skillset and imparting quality learning. Meet Ben Hale, a man who heard his true calling in the field of education and is consistently striving to create an environment where gaining knowledge represents self-discovery rather than survival strategy.
The Journey So Far
Born and brought up in South Korea until the age of 14, Ben’s next four years were dedicated to his high school graduation in Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore. Thereafter, it was the university environment that helped him learn about the cultures and traditions of the US and drastically changed his view to look at the world.
His love for education was immense but he had no plans to be an educator or exploit this field of learning. However, he was massively influenced by working with kids of all ages, who like him, wanted to explore the nitty-gritty of the world and were ready to go an extra mile. As such, in 2002, Ben entered the field of education by joining the team at Yongsan International School of Seoul as its Director of Admissions.
Today, his expertise and years of experience are helping him to stir Oasis International School – Kuala Lumpur (OIS-KL) as its Founding Head.
About (OIS-KL) and its Pacemaker
Founded in 2018, OIS-KL is a part of the NICS/Oasis group of schools. OIS-KL is represented by a 12-acre campus situated in Bandar Rimbayu, Selangor, outside of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Under Ben’s aegis, the school consistently strives to impart quality education to students coming from over 20 different countries including Malaysia, the USA, Korea, and Japan. Living by the Oasis Way — Character, Leadership, and Innovation — the school keeps its best foot forward in motivating its students to seek education as a medium of self-development and growth.
Being at the helm, Ben believes that all teachers at OIS exemplify leadership in their own unique way. He motivates them to create a classroom where students not only acquire guidance and support for their careers but attain the prowess to overcome real-world issues. For this, he has devised multi-level leadership groups based on time, roles & responsibilities, mission statement, future goals, etc. These levels are what helps students, teachers, and every other member at the school hold onto each other, keep up with the times, convert every challenge into an opportunity, and be the frontrunners.
Even in this current pandemic situation, Ben and his team have taken necessary measures to prioritize remote learning. They have introduced unique student engagement programs that effectively focus on making virtual learning more interesting and interactive. The school has also deployed a dedicated pastoral care team to address social self-isolation, depression, and other mental health issues and promote the overall social-emotional well-being of its students.
Ben is continuously trying to make the OIS campus more healthy, safe, and hygienic. He is devoted to investing in the right resources with an aim to create an environment where students would love to return and gain knowledge in a better way.
What Inspires Ben to Never Settle?
“My faith is the most important part of my motivation,” he says.
Ben believes that faith matters at every stage of life. His thoughts are strongly linked to his belief that every human being has his/her own purpose to chase and education is the ultimate way to discover that purpose. Being a parent, he always gets the needed motivation from his children to nurture his wisdom and hone his leadership capabilities continuously. His inspiration also lies in the success of his former students who are doing great in their personal as well as professional lives.
For him, the first and last days of school are really important. The first day at OIS brings a new level of excitement, hope, and anticipation for students, teachers, and other non-teaching staff. While the last day can be called a prank day where Ben fools all his Korean students by speaking the Korean language for the entire day and listens to all their secret conversations. Later, when the students understand the prank, laugh, and enjoy the moment is where Ben feels contented.
He never considers exams as the only aspect to analyze a student’s caliber. The impact that he creates as an educator and the positive results he gets in return is what matters the most to him. Apart from all this, an essential factor that helps him to never settle and keep going is establishing long-standing relationships with his students.
Ben was felicitated with the Coach of the Year awards in his 12th year of coaching the Girls High School Basketball team. But out of all that, he only remembers and cherishes the learning, time spent, and memories gathered. Today, he’s proud enough to say that girls from that team are now working for Apple, Tesla, the World Bank, and other renowned companies.
And his idea of success can be clearly acknowledged with his words, “I think my personality likes to see others be successful more than I want to get in front of people for a reward. My reward is measured by how many of my staff and students are successful.”
Words of Wisdom
Ben believes that everyone has to come across a challenge or a hiccup that forces them to push back and negatively impact their success goals. But you need to see it as a speed breaker in your long journey which makes you slow but also brings you back on track with time. Facing recurring challenges head-on can help you develop a habit of converting them into opportunities that would prepare you for your future. Even if you fail, you need to own your failure instead of blaming circumstances or people. This would entirely make a difficult situation much easier to act upon and overcome.
When it comes to being an educator, you should be passionate about learning along with a heart that loves kids unconditionally. The fact that half of the new teachers in the US change careers after only three years is enough to acknowledge that a career in education is a calling, not a job. And if you want to be an educator then remember, “It is sacrificial and rewarding. It is time-consuming and time well spent. It can suck the life out of you and breathe life into a student. It can feel like you are an entertainer and can inspire someone to be great.”
All Set for a Bright Future
OIS was witnessing tremendous growth before the onset of COVID-19 which was driven by the enrollment of close to 240 students within 18 months. And as the school managed to create a win-win situation even during the pandemic, it’s looking forward to covering more growth aspects and take its admissions to the next level. Although the school has received its full accreditation from ACS WASC, Ben has a great action plan in place to empower a vision for continuous improvement.
Talking about his future plans he says, “We have not come close to our potential, and I am excited to support our team in getting closer to that potential. In five years, we hope to be serving over 600 students and planning for Phase 2 of our campus.”