COETAIL Orientation Course – My Why

If you spoke to me in person, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell I was born and raised in Curitiba, Brazil. Even as an exchange student to Camrose, Alberta for the 1997-98 school year, I didn’t have much of an accent. In fact, most people would have said I was from somewhere in Canada.

After working in American and international schools in Brazil, Serbia, Egypt and China for the last fourteen years, and being married for the last eleven, all I’ve done is drop the ‘eh’ at the end of sentences. Mostly due to the latter. People now say I’m from somewhere in the US when they hear me speak.

I’ve been living in China for 6 years, working as an MYP/DP Biology and TOK teacher at Nanjing International School, about 300 km west of Shanghai and 540km North-East of Wuhan, which the world now seems to know where that is. I’ve been pretty bad at ‘bursting the bubble’, so nobody would say I’m from China.

A (big) part of my current job is also operationalizing our new school strategy: equipping students with the confidence to engage with their local communities and the ability to create their own learning plans. It’s been a fascinating experience, working with colleagues on a Design Thinking journey and managing change from the ground up as a Strategy Team member for the last 4 years.

Shameless plug: I am also the founder of

I’m joining COETAIL’s Online 12 cohort and tweet at @melloluiz2 because all the good variations of my name on Twitter were already taken. But I’ve got @luizgmello on Instagram, so that’s nice.

Does this mean Dolly Parton is not on Twitter?

My wife and I are moving to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in August. For the first time in 22 years, I won’t have a full time job. While I’ll stay busy leading IB workshops, attending conferences and lowering my handicap on the golf course, I am looking forward to doing all the things a 9-5 usually get in the way of. Things like diving into professional development for the job I want, and not for the job I have (or don’t have, whatever!). One of the reasons I’m here.

During my first-year teaching, I designed a Grade 8 Physics unit around a computer game called “Roller Coaster Tycoon”, where students had to build their own rides and explain the kinematics of their designs. Many years later, I found out that was called “Project-based learning”. I’ve always been tech-savvy, reformatting my 386 computers by trial-and-error, teaching myself to code websites and using productivity tools by listening to a wacky paper clip (RIP Clippit!). As a result, my relationship with educational technology is mostly intuitive, and I’d like to make it mostly intentional, which is another reason I’m here. I am looking forward to uncovering the ‘unknown unknowns’ on my educational technology journey over the course of the next 3 semesters – and beyond.

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