This week’s Teacher Feature brings us to our Special Education Needs (SEN) Department, featuring our very own Ms Emina, whose kindness and unwavering support for her students is felt by all here at BISL.

Joining our school in 2012, Ms Begić is driven by new opportunities and exploring new ideas, not only in the classroom through her inclusive teaching, but in her (little) spare time as well. With a particular interest in understanding brain development, specialising in SEN came quite naturally for Ms Begić, and she always takes great pride in seeing her students grow as individuals, developing independence, able to integrate confidently into not only their class but society in general, through her careful guidance and a well-structured, supportive and personalised approach.

Briefly describe your journey as a teacher.

They say that a calling neither comes to you nor can you choose it without restrictions. It is usually something that you are naturally gifted at, you feel good doing from early on, and you work hard for. My journey to becoming a teacher actually started with volunteering during my studies. Teaching languages and mathematics for primary school students, teaching in different summer camps, and organising activities for young students led me to helping organise a summer school on the sunny side of Africa, in Gambia. I participated in the realisation of the summer camp itself and I am proud to say that teaching learners whose second language was English across the ocean equipped me with unforgettable and vital experiences that I’m still able to use at work today.

Interested in innovative approaches in the SEN field, I joined a Slovene school with an inclusive programme in a regular school setting. My line manager at the time believed that I could contribute to another highly innovative school, which had inclusion at its core from day one, and referred me to BISL. This was a life changing referral. I got to know a dedicated, motivated and caring student that I supported through SEN, as well as many dedicated, motivated and caring colleagues and students that I work and learn from every day.

Why did you decide to specialise in SEN education?

Specialisation in SEN education is routed differently across European countries. In Slovenia it is a university undergraduate programme which is followed by specialisation in a particular SEN field. The studies cover all ranges of SEN students, their development, genetic, environmental and other factors, as well as methodology and different educational systems. I was intrigued to find out more about brain development long before starting my studies, and have added depth of understanding in the different learning styles, processing, memory, and more about teaching and learning in general and specific to different needs.

What makes BISL such a unique place to work?

BISL is unique due to the relationships, care, and environment it provides for its learners. When I started working at BISL, I was blown away by the strength of these factors and the effects that they have on the learning process, students' progress and outcomes. Learning is what BISL is all about. Reaching learning objectives and success criteria is one, life-long learning, developing the critical mind, as well as being responsible individuals is something that all parents want their children to aspire to. And BISL is developing these areas with innovative teachers that make sure the students are supported and challenged individually, as well as faced with high expectations, so they can take ownership of their learning and behaviour. This setting helps my responsibilities and work to be more professional, with me being able to learn from both sides, teachers and students.

How would you describe a typical day at BISL?

A typical day at BISL is full of a positive buzz - working and developing. Individuals put the effort into develop their abilities and knowledge in many different ways. This starts when the doors open in the morning and continues throughout the day. Students have the time to recharge with two breaks outside and different activity lessons at the end of the day, while core subjects run mostly in the mornings for students. When a new student comes to our school, they are reassured with seeing welcoming happy faces in the process of learning. It is very difficult to compare one day to another, as we are a growing school, open to innovative approaches and are flexible in the process, which makes every day a little different.

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

Not only does an international education equip students with a deeper understanding, wider knowledge, stronger rhetorical skills and the ability to plan and organise, students also develop ‘soft skills’ early on. These are becoming more important in today's modern world, starting with college applications and later job interviews. Becoming an individual who is flexible, can problem solve, adapt, think outside the box, take ownership of their decisions, challenge and assess themselves, as well as reflecting on their work is needed in most of today's careers and our daily lives.

More from our Teacher Feature series