ISBasel News

Staff Spotlight: David Collett and Alexandra Mazarakis

Staff Spotlight: David Collett and Alexa Mazarakis

Interview with ISB Teachers, David Collett and Alexa Mazarakis

We asked a selection of staff, new, long-standing and those who have been here for a few years, to answer a series of questions about their time at ISB and life here in Basel. It is a great privilege to have staff from so many different backgrounds and experiences. It is what makes us a diverse, international community.

David and Alexa are one of our married teaching couples at ISB. They have been here for two and a half years, arriving from the International School Manila.

How long have you been at ISB?

We've been here for 2 1/2 years now 

What subject(s) have you taught during your time at ISB?

Alexa: Grade 6/7 English; Grade 8 Wellbeing; Grade 10 English; Grade 11/12 IBDP Language and Literature, IBDP Literature 

David: Head of Digital Learning

Where did you move from and how does it compare to here?

We came from International School Manila where we met. It is a complete 180 in some ways, and yet very similar in others. On the differences, living in the Southeast Asia has a totally different feel and culture--we've traded heat for cold, taxis for trams, and beaches for mountains. We loved it there, and we love it here too. As for the school, to be honest, it's quite similar. We wanted to come to another top international school with IB programs that were inquiry-based, student-centered, and academically rigorous, and ISB fits the bill.

What is your favourite thing about living in Switzerland?

David: I like the smell. It's so fresh and clean. I've lived my whole life in cities of 4-15 million people and traffic and so Switzerland is so tranquil and smells amazing.

Alexa:  My mother went to a boarding school for six months when she was a young teen to study French and has always told me stories about it - the mountains and cows, the chocolate and cheese - so it's a bit of a dream come true to live here.  And Basel couldn't be more charming.  

What accomplishment fills you with pride so far this year?

Both: We have worked as a community to take on hard problems and rise to the occasion. We met the difficult challenges of distance learning and worked to ensure we have made the most of face to face learning. Overcoming masks and distance, large and small to keep the ISB culture strong and safe.

What would the students be surprised to find out about you? 

David: I was an IB student class of '01. But in my day there were some courses that were 1 year only. So I took 2 IB exams in Grade 11 and my Grade 12 was actually pretty chill. It was in that grade that I took the only computer skills class I have ever taken: Intro to Graphic Design. 

Alexa: To get into the mindset of an assessment, I sometimes take it, too. During DP mocks this is under timed conditions at the same time as my students, so we can talk about strategy and approach.

What advice do you have for new staff coming to work at ISB?

I mean...you're probably wondering what the catch is. There really isn't one. You will probably buy less (if any) Starbucks... due to the cost. This has had the upside effect of encouraging espresso machine ownerahip. So it's all relative. ISB is a great school to work for and we are excited to be a part of its journey.