For our final Teacher Feature this block, we take a sneak peek into our Art deparment for an interview with the brilliant Ms Hawkins, our Art Teacher in Secondary school.

Originally from Wales, Miss Hawkins' love of art began at a very young age. Believing that art inspires ideas, encourages creative thinking, and offers insight into an ever-growing, exciting industry, Miss Hawkins is passionate about instilling the same kind of love of art in her students.

Briefly describe your journey as a teacher.

I always knew that I would become a teacher, and here I am! After studying art at school, I completed an art and design foundation at university in which I studied and explored a wide variety of mediums. Upon completion, I decided to specialise in photography at university, something that always fascinated me. Following on from my degree, I wanted to experience teaching abroad prior to studying a PGCE. I have always loved traveling, experiencing new cultures and languages so working abroad was the next step. For two years I worked as a conversational English teacher in Spain as well as working in the art department. I loved working with secondary students, so this naturally led me to completing a teaching qualification in the UK. After qualifying, I taught in the UK for a couple of years before deciding to move abroad again and work in a British international setting. For the past three years I worked in Bucharest, Romania before recently joining the BISL community.

Why did you decide to specialise in Art?

For as long as I can remember I have always loved the arts. My biggest inspiration was my secondary art teacher, who inspired me to do what I do today. He encouraged me throughout my GCSEs and A-levels to pursue a career in art and design. I am motivated by how expressive art can be, it’s without restrictions and enables us to experiment, create and look at disciplines from all perspectives. I truly believe that it is a subject that offers something to all, regardless of their academic background. It inspires ideas, encourages creative thinking, and offers an insight into an ever-growing, exciting industry.

What makes BISL such a unique place to work?

For me, the small classes at BISL make it a unique place to work. It really allows me to personalise the learning for each student, especially in a subject like art, where I can sit with them, demonstrate techniques, and support them 1-1. I love that we are a small community, everyone here is a familiar face, even those you don’t teach!

How would you describe a typical day at BISL?

A typical day for me at BISL is arriving early and setting up for the day. I usually respond to emails, set up my resources and drink a hot cup of British tea before I welcome my tutor group. Teaching the whole age range in secondary keeps me on my toes and I love the transition between subject matter and techniques taught at KS3, to concepts and art movements at KS5. During my duties I check in with the students, how their day has been, or what they did on the weekend. These interactions are important and build positive relationships with the students which transition into lessons. When I’m not teaching, I can be found in my classroom, creating resources for lessons, or planning new and exciting projects to get students engaged.

Why is the experience of an international education important for a student?

Having worked both abroad and in the UK, I can really see how an international setting can impact students positively. The variety of nationalities here at BISL make it so unique. Classes are bursting with a range of cultures, languages and experiences which makes it an excellent social and educational environment for all. They learn to be tolerant and accepting of all people and develop into well-rounded individuals. Students are given a British education at BISL and leave with qualifications that enable them to study all over the world, opening them up to endless possibilities when they eventually fly the nest.

More from our Teacher Feature series