A few months ago, a collective sadness spread throughout the secondary school hallways when MYP Humanities Teacher Joel Warren announced he was leaving AISB.  After five years in Bucharest, he and his soon-to-be-wife Patricia Khalil (Ms. Patty), will be heading to Shanghai to start a new chapter at the Shanghai American School (SAS).

There have been a lot of tears over Warren’s departure. With a kind smile and genuine heart, his passion for his subject sparked enthusiasm within his students. Outside the classroom, he encouraged Vampire athletes, as the boys’ varsity basketball coach and girls’ softball coach. He was not only a great teacher and coach, but also a great friend.

Before he heads off to China, we sat down with Warren to talk about his life outside of school, his inspirations, his career, and future plans.


His life outside of school

Warren and Khalil are getting married this summer.

Q: What are five random facts about you that most people don’t know?

A: #1. I have two middle names; #2. My dad taught at my high school; #3. I have been to more than forty countries; #4. I have a borderline love affair with pizza; #5. I played university football (the one with helmets) for one year.


Q: Could you tell us a little bit more about your background before coming to this school?

A: I grew up in Canada in a small city not too far from Toronto. I went to university in Windsor, which is directly across the border from Detroit, Michigan. Upon graduation from university I headed off to Christchurch, New Zealand for Teacher’s College. After finishing my program there, I went back to Canada briefly and then journeyed to South Korea where I taught for three years.


Q: What is one remarkable experience that you’ve had in your childhood years?

A: When I was in my final year of high school, I was lucky enough to travel to Havana, Cuba with my basketball team. We played games against local clubs and had many opportunities to engage in cultural experiences outside of basketball. The trip was a real eye-opener for me and helped lead to my curiosity of exploring the world.


Warren rappelling down a waterfall in New Zealand.

Q: What inspired you to become a teacher, and if you weren’t a teacher, what would you like to be?

A: [What inspired me to become a teacher] would definitely be working in summer camps when I was younger. I spent a number of years working as a camp counselor at one of the biggest camps in Canada. It was an incredible experience; being surrounded by incredibly beautiful Canadian wilderness, playing sports, and working with energetic youth every day. It was here that I started to realize the passion I had for working with youth.

If I wasn’t a teacher, I think that I would like to be an entrepreneur or a writer.  I admire entrepreneurs for their ability to apply their bold visions and dreams to the real world, and I think it would be interesting to experience the solitary journey and time to think that comes with being a writer.


Teaching at AISB

Q: How has your experience been at AISB, and are there any moments that stand out to you the most?

A: I have had an incredible five years working at AISB. The experience has been an extremely meaningful one for me both in my life and in my career. The experience that stands out the most would certainly be meeting my fiancè Patty here in my first year. Aside from that, the most memorable experience was just building relationships with students day after day, year after year, sharing laughs and good times together. There hasn’t been a “work” day in the last five years that I didn’t share many smiles with the students here.


Q: What are you going to miss most from this school?

A: That one is easy. The students without a doubt. There are so many that I have watched grow, and grown with over the years here. I definitely feel sad knowing that I won’t be seeing so many students I have come to know so well next year.


Q: What made you want to become a humanities teacher specifically?

A: I have always been fascinated by our world and the people in it. From a young age I was interested in learning about the different places and cultures of the world, and as I got older I really began to enjoy experiencing them firsthand. I believe that a solid humanities education helps students to grow up more open-minded, tolerant, and with a deeper understanding of the incredible journey that homo sapiens have been on. In short, I believe that studying humans helps you to be more human.


The next chapter in his life

The Yuyuan Market in Shanghai, China. Pixabay stock image.

Q: Where are you moving to, and why did you decide to move?

A: One of the reasons that I got into international teaching specifically was that it provided me with a “passport” of sorts to live around the world. While I have had an amazing time in Bucharest and at AISB, I was itching to use this passport again, and to have a whole host of new experiences. I will be teaching at Shanghai American School in China next year, and I look forward to the challenges and experiences that are part of adapting to a new home.


Q: Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?

A: That’s the toughest question to answer. In a “couple” of years, probably in Shanghai still, teaching, traveling and enjoying life. As for a “few” years, however …..well let’s just say I have a few ideas that are secret for now. 🙂



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