At BSB, I Am Impressed by the Wonderful Sense of Community
An interview with Lucy Harrison, Primary Teaching Assistant
Lucy Harrison joined the British School of Bucharest in 2019 as a Teaching Assistant. She graduated from the Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, specialising in Social Psychology and Community Psychology. Lucy has volunteered in schools and worked as an Activities Director. She is passionate about providing quality education to students and promoting a life-long love for learning.
Why did you go into teaching?
As a child, I would often play “teacher” by arranging my stuffed toys around a chalkboard in my family home and giving them lessons. Growing up, I enjoyed peer tutoring during secondary school and volunteered at elementary schools throughout my time at university. Helping others is something I’m passionate about, and one of the best moments of teaching is seeing the “click” moment when a child understands something that they have been struggling with. Previous teachers of mine have made a huge impact on my life, and I would hope that I can make the same impact on my students.
What made you want to join BSB?
I visited Bucharest for the first time in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the city and the country of Romania. I knew that I had to come back! I started thinking about moving internationally in 2018 and obtained my certificate in teaching English as a foreign language. I applied to several language schools, but when I found a job posting at BSB, it stood out. I was impressed by the wonderful sense of community, the amazing student achievement, and the incredible amount of resources.
In how many countries have you lived?
Romania is my first experience living internationally. Previous to this, I have only lived in my home country, Canada.
Which school, where you have taught, was most different to BSB? From a cultural and sociological point of view.
After graduating from university, I spent several months volunteering at my old elementary school. It is a tiny rural school, with about 55 children aged 4-13. Of course, the most significant difference between BSB and that school is the different national curriculums. Also, due to the small enrolment, children were placed in classes with up to 5 different year groups, which made it difficult for the teachers to plan lessons and provide one-on-one support to children who might be struggling. It was a shift to come to BSB, with small class sizes and a teaching assistant for every class. When I first came to BSB and saw the resources available to both the teachers and the students, my jaw literally dropped. At my small rural school, we could have never dreamed of the number of resources that the community at BSB are so lucky to have at their fingertips.
What do you believe is the most important thing to understand when trying to teach pupils in the Primary stages?
For me, the most important thing is to understand that each child has their unique skill-set and talents and that as an educator, it’s our responsibility to meet them at their level. By encouraging growth and promoting confidence in students in all areas, this helps them take on subjects that they may find more challenging. More than anything, curiosity and not being afraid to make mistakes are the best traits to encourage in young pupils!
How does your specialisation in Social Psychology help you in your communication with children?
Studying psychology, especially social psychology, has provided me with a framework of theories that allow me to gain insight into the behaviours of children and why they might behave in a certain way. Social psychology is about understanding human interaction and the motives behind social behaviours. Using my understanding of psychology, I try to encourage growth in emotional awareness and communication with the children that I work with.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
Not so much a “what”, but more a “who”. Since a young age, my mum has always told me that I would make a great teacher. My mum also worked in education while I was growing up. Looking back at her work, I believe this had a massive impact on my interest and respect for the profession. Despite several other career choices and then changes, I have ended up following her advice!
And finally: tell us something unexpected about yourself.
I am a singer/songwriter! I took piano lessons from ages 8-18 and started writing songs on the piano at age 8. I won awards at local music festivals for my original compositions. I also taught myself to play the guitar at 14 and started writing songs on the guitar. I performed my original songs at shows at my Secondary School and was even an opening act at a local concert.