I Always Wanted to Be a Teacher
An interview with Ann-Marie Isaac, Class Teacher and Key Stage 1 Coordinator for Primary School
Ann-Marie Isaac joined the British School of Bucharest in 2015. She combines her role as a Class Teacher with being the Key Stage 1 Coordinator for Primary. She studied teaching at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Carmarthen, where she specialised in Music and Key Stage 1. Ann-Marie’s international school experience includes teaching children from Reception to Year 2 in Kuwait, where she taught for many years in different schools.
Why did you go into teaching?
I always wanted to be a teacher at a very young age. As a child, I used to role-play being the teacher to my younger brother and cousins. I had different coloured pens on my desk and made sums for them to complete. I thought I was the best teacher! I am not sure what my brother or cousins thought of it, though.
During my GCSE’s, I did a work placement at a school and thoroughly enjoyed my time there and learned that I still wanted to become a teacher.
After my A Levels, I applied to the University of Wales Trinity Saint David to do a Bachelor of Arts combined with Education B.A (Ed).
What made you want to join BSB?
I had been working in the Middle East for many years and eventually decided that I wanted a new challenge, to be in a country that wasn’t hot all year round and closer to family. When I came across the TES advertisement, I decided to take a closer look at the school website. My first impressions were ‘WOW! What beautiful buildings!’ After reading more about the school, I felt that I should apply for the position. It was clear to me that the school set high standards and put the children’s’ interests and needs first, which is a very similar view to mine.
In how many countries have you lived?
I have lived in 3 different countries, Wales, Kuwait and Romania. Kuwait was my first international teaching post and a very different country to Romania. When I moved there, the only thing I knew about the country was that it was extremely hot and about the same size as Yorkshire in England. After a few years of living there, I learned a great deal about the culture and traditions of the country, and it also led to many travel opportunities to Jordan, Oman and Dubai, to name just a few. I also became quite confident in understanding Arabic, although I am not competent enough to speak it!
I have lived internationally for 20 years this year. Leaving Wales as a newly qualified teacher at the age of 22 seems like only yesterday!
What do you believe is the most important thing to understand when trying to teach pupils in the Primary stages?
I think the most important thing is that the children adopt a love for learning and a passion for finding out more!
I love my job as a class teacher and Key Stage 1 coordinator. Children who come to Key Stage 1 from EYFS must have a smooth, worry-free transition. That is why we similarly approach the children’s learning with a fun, engaging, outdoor, and practical curriculum. It is vitally important that the children understand that taking risks is an integral part of their learning and that they all learn from taking these risks. It is also essential to recognise that all the children are different and that they all learn in different ways and at different levels.
In your opinion, how does learning in a foreign language help a child’s personal development in Primary Years?
I am a big advocate of children learning a foreign language. Children are so resilient and more open to learning new things than adults are. Studies have shown that learning a second language boosts problem-solving and listening skills, and improves memory and concentration.
I grew up in a bilingual household, where I spoke Welsh to my mum’s side and English to my dad’s side of the family. I feel that it benefitted my brother and me in many ways, in and out of the classroom.
If you weren’t a full-time teacher, what would your dream job be?
If I weren’t a full-time teacher, my dream job would be, to be the owner of an animal shelter. When I lived in Kuwait, many cats roamed the streets, which led me to adopt two beautiful cats there. When I arrived in Romania, I noticed all of the street dogs, and every day I drive around I always wish I had a large house with a big garden to give all the dogs a home. So, I decided, after four years, that I had room for one street dog.
What are you enjoying most about Bucharest so far?
I love living in Romania. I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the different parts of the country during the last five years, from visiting Peles Castle in Sinaia to taking a long road trip along the Transfăgărășan Road. There are many other places that I want to visit, particularly the rock sculpture of Decebalus. I enjoy having all four seasons in Romania, which is very different from Kuwait, and I particularly enjoy taking my adopted Romanian street dog, Alfie, for long walks to Băneasa forest during the Autumn and Spring seasons.