Long Talk: Mr. Madden

June 5, 2020

Disclaimer: Mr. Madden’s answers have been transcribed from a Zoom interview as accurately as possible.

What is your position at ISB and how many years have you been here?

I’m a High School Visual Arts teacher, and that includes teaching Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Graphic Design, as well as the IB Visual Arts Diploma Course. I have been at ISB for five years now.

What is the next destination in your life?

In terms of work, my family and I are moving to the Republic of Kazakhstan, to the school Haileybury where I’m taking up a position there as a HS Visual Arts teacher.

Why did you decide to go there?

Multiple reasons. My wife is Russian and we have a young daughter, and we feel it’s important for us to help her learn the Russian language. In Kazakhstan, they speak Kahzak and Russian, so there’s opportunities there for our daughter to be immersed, from an early age, in the Russian language so she grows up being fluently bilingual. It was a very important decision- our thoughts were “what can we do to support our daughter in growing up to be fully bilingual (or multilingual)?” So that was one of the biggest reasons for us. The other reason is because Kazakhstan is close to Russia- so it’s also very close for us to see my wife’s family. So in a lot of ways, this move for us represents a family move: it’s grounded in our value of family.

Looking back on your time at ISB, what memories and feelings will you take away from here?

Some of the most significant memories I’ll take away include the students. I remember when I arrived from my previous position: coming from Germany to ISB, the first thing I noticed were the fantastic students here. I’ve been continually blown away by their commitment, the effort they put into their work, the relationships and respect they have for each other, the respect they have for their teachers- I think that’s one of the most significant things that I’ll be taking away with me. Another important memory I’ll be taking are the teachers I have been able to work with and get to know. There are many highly qualified, professional, gifted teachers here that collectively make ISB the wonderful place that it is.

What final thoughts or advice would you like to leave with the students of ISB as you depart?

My advice to my students – they probably already know this – is that your learning is more than a grade. Learning continues throughout your whole life, and I really encourage my students to see learning as a journey, rather than a destination. I think Visual Arts is an empowering subject that helps you to discover not just yourself, but yourself within the world as a citizen. So we should shift the idea of learning away from a grade, and to something that’s a journey that continues throughout your life.


Thank you for five wonderful years in Bangkok: the ISB community wishes you and your family all the best in Kazakhstan!

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