As we are celebrating English during this block, we focus on Mr Wilkins in our next Teacher Feature.
Originally from beautiful Cornwall in the UK, Mr Wilkins got his degree at the University of Exeter and the University of Oxford. He is unashamedly obsessed with reading and the study of language and literature, and is consistently determined to share this love with his students.
Briefly describe your journey as a teacher.
When I finished my undergraduate degree I took the decision to follow my dreams and attend the University of Oxford in order to study for my PGCE in English. It was an absolutely superb two years studying and working in Oxford. However, once the thrills of University waned I realised that given that every country in the world had schools and a need for teachers, it seemed somewhat foolish to stay in the UK forever. I’ve always been fascinated by travel, and opportunities to explore the world, so I took a job in Togo in West Africa. It was a fantastic time teaching and living there, but I longed for colder climates. Thus I moved to Slovenia and to BISL, and I’m very much revelling in the happiness of snow whenever it comes.
Why did you decide to specialise in English?
I became an English teacher through a somewhat convoluted logic. When I was 18 I realised that what I truly loved in life was reading, and that in order to continue reading it made sense to do a degree in English Literature. Once I finished my degree I realised what I truly loved in life was English Literature, and that the easiest way to continue interacting with English Literature each day was to become an English Literature teacher. On becoming an English Literature teacher I realised that helping students discover literature, and learning from their fascinating ways of reading texts was what I wanted to do most.
What makes BISL such a unique place to work?
Moving to Slovenia and to BISL has been fantastic. The school is a wonderful place filled with many perspectives from the staff to the students to the community as a whole. As I believe wholeheartedly in lifelong learning, it has been fantastic to learn so much from my colleagues and the students. I absolutely adore the view from school, and especially the new building; it is such a privilege to work in such a wonderful environment.
How would you describe a typical day at BISL?
I think one of the joys of education is that it is an ever-changing environment. At BISL I can go from teaching Year 7 to teaching Year 12 in a space of a few hours, but the fundamental enjoyment remains the same, it is fantastic to see students rise to any challenge they are presented with. One of the wonderful things about teaching is also the opportunity to work collaboratively with colleagues. I will confess that a typical day probably contains at least one debate with Mr Eve over important or potentially asinine elements of the English language and literature. But, as a staff body, it is wonderful to see the passion teachers have for their subjects, and it is brilliant when we succeed in passing that passion to our students.
Why is the experience of an international education important for a student?
I am so envious of the students at BISL who get to experience a truly international education. Growing up in a small town in the UK miles away from a real city meant my knowledge of worlds other than my own was limited to textbooks. Students at BISL get to experience perspectives of people, teachers and peers, from all over the world. One of the best ways in the world to learn is through others, and international education is surely a fantastic facilitator of this.