Meet David Waitzer

David Waitzer is the Founding Learning Coach for our first cohort in East Asia & Oceania. In this post, he describes how his background teaching and leading for innovative international education companies will help him accelerate the growth of Prisma learners.

Emily Veno
October 3, 2023

Prisma is the world’s most engaging virtual school that prepares kids for the ever-changing world of the future. Our team of educators have a diverse background of experience on the cutting edge of teaching and learning, whether they’ve worked in brick and mortar schools or dynamic online environments. In our Meet the Team blog series, you’ll get to read more about the amazing educators behind Prisma.

David Waitzer joined Prisma in fall 2023 as the Founding Learning Coach & Development Lead for Prisma East Asia & Oceania

Where are you based? 

While I’m from Toronto, Canada and visit dear family and friends there every summer— I live in Bangkok, Thailand and love it! I first moved here to teach at an international school, and have since decided to make it my home base. It’s such an interesting city and a beautiful country! The community here is incredible: tons of people from all over the world, working together, focusing on progressive, creative, and human-centered projects. 

Tell us a little bit about your background in education prior to joining Prisma. 

I’ve always been passionate about opportunities to help people level up on their own terms, starting with my first job out of undergrad working in market intelligence. It was so cool to see how much of an impact well-tailored guidance could have on professional trajectories. This led me to dedicate the bulk of my career to working in international schools, both as a teacher and administrator. 

In 2020, I pivoted from my most recent international school position in Bogota and took myself on quite the productive growth journey! I started by helping to run an insect agriculture company, then starting a registered mental health charity, founding a holistic tutoring company, and facilitating teacher training at Synthesis School—a gamified edtech company focused on developing collaborative problem solvers. I’m so excited to apply all my learning while continuing to grow with the Prisma community.

What most drew you to the role of Learning Coach & Development Lead for our Australasia cohort? 

I think this role fits who I am, allowing me to build meaningful relationships with learners while helping to develop systems for the success of our programs as we grow on this side of the globe. I love how Prisma is a remote community that leverages opportunities for elevating the online student journey from the ground up, prioritizing a holistic, student-centered experience. Beyond the vision and follow-through of the collective, every person I’ve talked to at Prisma has been so dedicated, caring, and capable. 


You have a lot of experience with different educational models. What do you see as the difference between being a traditional teacher and being a “learning coach,” and what is your approach to supporting learners? 

As a teacher, I’ve always prioritized fostering the social and emotional aspects of student growth. My beliefs as an educator—and understanding of what truly matters for students—was sometimes at odds with somewhat rigid curricula and tools for measuring progress.

The best coaches support folks as they work towards their own goals while helping them evolve their efforts to align with their best interests. I’m most excited about my role as a learning coach affording me the opportunity to meet each learner where they’re at and helping them get to where they want to be. There is so much value in highly individualized, interdisciplinary, project-based learning with lots of intentional support and communal growth—and that is what Prisma is all about!

If you could pick one skill that all kids should master to prepare for the world of the future, what would it be and why? 

Critical reflection is a vital skill that will only become more valuable in the future as technological assistance permeates through more complex intellectual, creative, and emotional processes. Dedication to courageous and intentional self-awareness can help us align our efforts with our goals, understand motivators as well as blockers, and constructively consider multiple perspectives. I love learning about how our minds work and how much potential there is for us to work better with our minds. 

What do you like to learn about, or what is something new you learned recently? 

Some of my favorite topics to learn about are behavioral economics and social psychology, as I think the understandings in these areas are pretty much universally applicable to the human experience. I’d say I spend about a third of my reading time on those topics! Currently, I’m participating in a course focusing on helping students develop healthy emotional relationships with mathematics, which is fascinating! I recently finished a series of workshops on responsive classrooms in elementary and middle school contexts- so much cool stuff in there related to cultivating supportive and high-performing learning communities. I’m also reading about restorative justice in educational contexts and love the idea of focusing on communal healing over imposing consequences.

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