The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Not so Secret Life of Perky Perkins



Mr. Perkins striking a pose in front of the greenhouse. Photo credit: Olivia Noss

 When Mr. Perkins first came to WIS two years ago, he did not expect to end up on stage a year later to sing “Signifying Monkey,” on Poetry Day. It was such a hit, that everyone in the room began to sing along and cheers erupted loudly when he finished.


Story continues below advertisement

Those who were there might wonder how he got so good at singing. Perkins says that singing comes naturally to him. “You just have to feel it, you know, it doesn’t matter what you’re singing, it matters more how you sing it,” Perkins says.  He then proceeds to burst out singing “I’m in a library” in a very operatic voice. Everyone turns their heads and he smiles shamelessly.

Aside from his vocal talents, Perkins is an enthusiastic digital design teacher. “I am able to impart a passion of mine that I think is crucial to creativity,” Perkins says. “I am teaching not only a tool, but a process, a way to sort of take an idea in your head and manifest it in reality.”


If you were to ask his students to describe him in one word, it would probably be perky. Perky Perkins? Yes, indeed. In fact, Rohan Subramanian, a former student of his, insists, “My favorite thing about Mr. Perkins is that he brings energy to the classroom and teaches with a hands on approach, but gives us the independence to learn from our mistakes. Even so, he is always available to help when we really need it.” What more could a student ask for?


Ms. Kumar, one of the Tregaron librarians, also says that, “he definitely uplifts the mood of the library. Let’s just say you can hear him before you see him.”


At first glance, you may think that teaching students Photoshop in digital design is second nature for him, but Perkins tells me that it was not actually his initial intent. In reality, he didn’t go to school for graphic design, but for film and video.  “People were looking for things other than just film, and they wanted to know if I could do graphic design, editing and motion graphics, so I had to really teach myself those skills by using tutorials that I found online,” Perkins says. It is obvious Perkins has easily adapted to his surroundings, and played the cards he’s been dealt.


However, after being told to teach digital design, he wasn’t completely sure how he wanted to approach it. He had to create his own curriculum, and was unsure at the beginning, until he had a revelation, “I thought about it and realized I didn’t want to teach a photoshop class, that to me didn’t make sense. That’s like teaching a class about using a pencil. I can teach you how to write with it and erase with it, but after that, whether or not you draw the Mona Lisa or you write a ten page paper, it’s completely up to you.”


Instead of teaching how to use Photoshop, he wanted to instruct his students about how to go through the process of making a design. Perkins promotes this learning process as a whole over the outcome of a student’s project, of how to create and not just how the tool works itself. It’s a challenging job to teach student the process and the tool in one semester, while keeping it rigorous at the same time. Nonetheless, Perkins succeeds in striking a good balance. “Did I expect to teach as a job? No, I didn’t, but still love it. As a matter of fact, this has been my best experience so far, and I’m proud to say that.”

By Olivia Noss


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *