For our first Teacher Feature of the New Year, we bring you a delightful interview with our beloved Year 5 Teacher, Mrs Charlesworth.

Her passion for education and dedication to our community has been unwavering since she first joined our school when it opened in 2008, making her one of the longest standing members of the BISL team. Through her roles as our Caring for the Community (C4C) Programme Coordinator and Primary Student Council Coordinator, she empowers our students to make a positive difference, not only in school life, but in our local and wider community too. No stranger to international living, did you know that Mrs Charlesworth does in fact have Slovenian roots too?

How did your journey as a teacher begin?

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to have a profession that helped people. My very first ‘teaching job’ was when I was in high school and volunteered at the centre for physically disabled children, this was an incredibly rewarding experience and one that set me off on my teaching career. Another moment was when I began teaching non-literate adults (mainly new immigrants) to read and write for simple day to day living e.g. filling in forms/paperwork etc. I headed into the healthcare profession and became a sleep scientist working in sleep laboratories, which I loved as it was a career in which I helped people. Volunteering in India, gave me the incredible opportunity of teaching English in an orphanage in Bangalore, an experience I will always highly value which brought me back to the idea of teaching. Last but not in any way the least, teaching my own three children and watching them grow into the caring, intelligent young people they are today, made me want to teach others.

Why did you decide to specialise in Primary education?

With my husband’s job allowing our family to travel the world, I wanted a job that was portable and fit in around my family of three young children at the time. So, while we lived in Ahmedabad, India, I decided to study teaching more formally and began a degree in Primary and Secondary Teaching with Deakin University in Australia. This degree enabled me to become a qualified Primary school teacher and Secondary teacher for my double majors (Biology and Psychology) of my first degree (Bachelor of Science, Adelaide University) and Post-graduate in Reproductive Biology (Monash University). When BISL first opened with a total of 22 students, I taught a combined Year 1 & 2 class and also high school Biology; how much BISL has grown over the years!

What makes BISL such a unique place to work?

I would have to say first of all its the students, colleagues and parents, who are respectful, supportive and so caring of each other, which make BISL such a wonderful place to work. This could so easily be seen with the recent Christmas charity project, where the whole community banded together. I have also really enjoyed being at BISL since the beginning, which has given me the opportunity to have retaught students through different year groups, and watched them grow up from young minds learning to read, to young adults heading off to university. Then of course it is Ljubljana itself, where else in the world can you step out of your playground into the forest, or drive an hour or two to the seaside or the alps!

How would you describe a typical day at BISL?

Busy, lively, entertaining and rewarding. What I love most about teaching is that feeling you get, when a student understands a new concept or becomes overly enthused about something you’ve taught, and you know that partly this has something to do with you.

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

International education provides students with the opportunity of working together with peers and teachers from all over the world. It enables students to ask questions and learn from their those who may have experienced different experiences. This collaboration highlights the overwhelming similarities between people, and that we all strive for love, respect and empathy, developing open-minded global citizens. For local and international students, it puts them outside of their comfort zones (e.g. language), creating young people that are more resilient, confident and ready to take on the world. Students that have experienced international education are more likely to see the entire world as open to them for tertiary education, as can be seen by many of our BISL graduates. Of course the wonderful life-long friendships that students may make, in which they are able to travel the globe and visit their friends, immerse in various cultures and eat amazing food is also a great reason for international education.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the C4C initiative at BISL?

Caring for the Community was an activity I began at BISL as a way of giving back to our school community, local community and wider world - encouraging active global citizens. We have had the opportunity to do many different projects, including: Trije Zimski Botri Christmas Charity Project, Red Cross blood donation drives, animal shelter visits and fundraising, participation in the Igraj se z Mano project and the Going on a Bear Hunt project, special needs school plays and discos, blind school visits with the children and doing activities together, road safety awareness with politicians, Recycle, Reduce & Reuse campaigns, endangered species awareness and art auction, bat preservation activities, Paws for a Cause dog walk, teacher dare fundraisers, Afghani Refugee Charity project, and more….. The best part of coordinating C4C at BISL is watching students become aware that they can easily make an important mark in the world, all they need is the desire to make a difference and the motivation to see it through.

More from our Teacher Feature series