In celebration of our Languages block, this week’s Teacher Feature introduces Ms Košec, our Head of Modern Foreign Languages and Slovene Teacher.
Having recently returned from teaching in Australia, Ms Košec is no stranger to international education, not only has she taught internationally, but she also pursued international higher education herself. Teaching Slovene for both Primary and Secondary students, she quickly felt at home with school life at BISL, adapting well to the mix of both online and in school teaching with ease.
How did your journey as a teacher begin?
I never thought I would become a teacher one day. When I was 15, my aunt gave birth to a lovely baby girl, Julija. I spent hours, days and months with her, whenever I could. She made me realise just how much I enjoy singing and reading to her. Suddenly, just like that, the idea of sharing knowledge and experience with children popped in my head and I later made the decision to become a kindergarten teacher. My 4-year preschool education programme was nearly at its end when I decided to challenge myself further and began a study course in Primary education. I moved down to the Slovenian coast, where I gained plenty of pedagogical experiences during my studies and teaching practice. My passion to travel and explore as often as I can, led me to participate in the Erasmus+ Student Mobility programme at one of the Faculties of Education in Norway. Being a part of the international "No Reason to Stay Inside" programme gave me the bigger picture of teaching and learning overseas in the international environment, where the first language is not Slovene or English. This beautiful experience was one of the reasons I put lot of effort in my Master’s thesis and pursued further teaching experiences overseas. Consequently, I moved to Australia where I had the opportunity to work in my field for a while before coming back home last summer to continue my teaching path here in Slovenia.
Why did you decide to specialise in teaching Languages?
Travelling and living in different parts of the world, getting to know new cultures, building new social bonds, and learning the basics of different languages had a big impact on me. The world is your oyster, and it's an extraordinary experience when you are trying to order a coffee in a completely different language or to have a basic conversation in a foreign language on the street when you're a bit lost. Even as a student, I was engaged in learning Slovene and other languages, including English, Spanish, a bit of Italian and German. Although I would say my passion to specialise in teaching Languages was ignited by my travels to different parts of the world.
What makes BISL such a unique place to work?
If you take just a few steps into the building and wander down the corridors, you can feel that BISL is a unique place to work in many ways. Our school offers an intercultural setting of teaching and learning because our curious students and staff come from all over the globe and bring with them their own cultures, mother languages and different views and understanding of the world. It's a fascinating experience to listen to students when they try to teach you a few words in their mother tongues with such enthusiasm as you try to repeat after them or see their awe when they discover that some words sound the same in their mother tongue as words in Slovene. It's nice to work with such engaged students who are full of ideas, and with such supportive colleagues too.
How would you describe a typical day at BISL?
A dynamic, lively and productive one. Most of the time a student brings a smile to your face with their stories, ideas and motivation to learn Slovene. It's incredible when you realise how much they learn in a few weeks and they still strive to learn more. One of the important parts of my typical day at BISL is my amazing team, who are always there for support and to share ideas.
Why is the experience of an international education important for a student?
An international experience has huge meaning in students' lives. It gives them wider opportunities in life, increases their creativity and makes students more beneficial in the eyes of employers in the marketplace. To be able to learn about many different cultures and languages in one school broadens your horizons and culture awareness in a very unique way. Life is unpredictable, you never know where and with whom you will work later in your life, and as such, it is important to keep an open mind and build strong values, such as those fostered at BISL: respect, excellence, empathy, and challenge.