For the first Teacher Feature of our final Block this year, we bring you a splendid interview with Ms Karla, our wonderful Assistant Teacher in Early Years.

A huge sports enthusiast, energetic, kind and always cheerful, Ms Karla is passionate about encouraging children to explore and develop themselves through movement. This passion is fully reflected in her everyday interactions with our little ones, channeling positivity into all aspects of their learning, and taking every opportunity to be active, engaging and hands-on with our young learners, ensuring there's never a dull moment in Early Years.

How did your journey as a teacher begin?

As the oldest sibling, I felt obligated to take care of my sisters and cousins in the family. I always felt comfortable doing it, because of my vibrant and cheerful nature. Somewhere along the way, I realised I have a natural aptitude for it, so I combined my love for sports and teaching, and began my studies in Physical Education, embracing these two passions and taking on any opportunity to actively challenge myself and others to improve physically and mentally. As I enrolled at university, I started teaching Gymnastics and Dance for kindergarten-aged students. As Dance is one of my biggest passions, I am still actively engaged in various dancing activities. Here at BISL too, I lead and organise activities for our popular Dance Club. I also worked as a swimming instructor for 5 years, organising many sporting events and I was also involved in organising an IRONMAN event abroad. While studying, I had 3 internships as a PE teacher, in a kindergarten, a primary school and a middle school, which was very useful in helping me understand what the needs of children at different age groups really are.

Why did you decide to specialise in Early Years education?

When I was a child, I had a lot going on all the time, while never fully committing to anything. I always left my options open and followed my heart wherever the journey might take me. I loved sports since my childhood, hence it was a natural fit for me to enrol at the Faculty of Sports, where I was involved in a lot of projects and work connected with children of all ages. I realised my passion was working in education, especially the younger years, as they have such a high aptitude for learning. I had many opportunities to observe and choose which age group I wanted to specialise in, and I picked the Early Years because there is something special about this age group, and I cannot exactly put my finger on it, but I was intrigued. So far, it has been a blast!

What makes BISL such a unique place to work?

Being naturally curious, an environment like BISL offers me an incredible opportunity to meet people of different beliefs and backgrounds, different cultures and mindsets. I am constantly being challenged not only by my colleagues, but mostly by my students, and I often learn important life lessons from them. I can say with confidence, that this environment promotes the gaining of knowledge, hence I am constantly evolving as a person because of it. Teaching children is so fulfilling, because you get the feeling that they take a small piece of you on their own journey in life.

How would you describe a typical day at BISL?

Upon arrival in the morning I prepare the classroom to be a suitable learning environment. I try to include something new into the children’s routine every day, be it rearranging some objects or a fun interactive activity to kickstart the day. It spurs on critical thinking in children and makes them rethink the situation they are placed in, furthering their social skills even more. During the day I try to be as involved with the children as possible, be it through communication or support. The key is recognising the children’s needs, choosing the right approach and providing them with appropriate guidance, as some only require you to be present to feel comfortable, while others need a bit more support and encouragement.

A big part of my teaching is the support of our EAL students, who don't speak English yet, so I translate for them with hand signs, facial expressions and general behavioural patterns while paying careful attention to their reactions. I am also frequently engaged in the physical education of the children where they learn a lot new skills, as learning while playing is the most natural way for them.

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

From my point of view, children of all ages learn best by observing and interacting with their peers. Being placed in an environment where children of diverse cultures, upbringings and traditions interact with each other on a daily basis during lessons, breaks and extra-curricular activities means they have a much better understanding of themselves, their peers and the world around them. It teaches them how to integrate into society on a much deeper level, with a stronger personal identity and sense of purpose. As they gain more experience and become more confident, they start to develop better interpersonal skills, they learn how to be considerate and patient towards others and have a much healthier outlook on life in general. Such an experience is a fantastic springboard for life, allowing children to identify their best competencies and developing them even further, promoting personal growth and helping them achieve their true potential.

More from our Teacher Feature series