My Life Has Meaning When I Am with Children

An interview with Rachel Eglinton, Primary Teacher at BSB.

Rachel Eglinton joined the British School of Bucharest in 2016 and has taught in both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Rachel achieved joint honours in Middle School Education and French, teaching French in primary schools across Hampshire for six years, before moving to Hong Kong with her young family to teach Year 1 to Year 6 in the English Schools Foundation. For 15 years, before joining BSB, Rachel taught at an independent boarding school in the North of England. Rachel leads Outdoor Learning and frequently takes classes to the forest. She also introduced Girlguiding to the school and coordinates a varied girl-led programme for Rainbows, Brownies and Guides.

Why did you go into teaching?

My life has meaning when I am with children. I have a purpose and I am fulfilled when striving to make a difference to a young individual. During my own Primary School years, I knew I would be a teacher.

What made you want to join BSB?

I had one daughter at Durham University and my other, potentially at Edinburgh, then I was made redundant. I saw this as an opportunity to leave the nest before it was made empty, and Bucharest was an easy flight for both daughters.

How was your previous school different from BSB?

I happily taught alongside Benedictine Monks, at a Catholic boarding school in North Yorkshire, for 15 years. It was there that I developed my love of outdoor learning. I have always aspired to the holistic development of a child and saw the benefit of being immersed in nature. We spent time exploring acres of fields, woodland and lakes, not to mention the many orchards and gardens. The natural environment develops skills and promotes learning in a way that the classroom cannot support.

I recently read a Swansea University study that revealed how an hour a week of outdoor learning has tremendous benefits for children and also boosts teachers’ job satisfaction. Imagine the impact on us all, when a couple of hours a day are spent outside!

How many countries have you lived in?

Romania is my third. As a student, I lived in France for a year studying at Angers University. With our young family, we lived in Hong Kong, for my husband to be the marine engineer for the Outward Bound Trust, and I taught in the English Schools Foundation.

Tell us more about your passion for the French Language.

I learnt French at school, but it started to become a living language when my home town was twinned with Corbie. I enjoyed having French penpals, holidays in France, and then, upon embarking on joint honours, a year at a French university. I like French wine, food and window shutters.

What inspires you to be creative?

Teaching is creative. Being led by the children and finding ways to further their learning is both exciting and energising. Recently, a couple of Guides led a Game Maker activity at a meeting. They also decided the rules; have you ever fished with one eye closed? In the forest, the children enjoyed playing with the leaves and then moved on to exploring art. Their fun was extended the following week when they created leaf mazes. Year 3 enjoyed seeking wellies around the campus, with clues tucked inside for their final map work lesson. Staff have reflected on what the Christmas holidays mean to them, by exploring Stonework Play.

If you weren’t a full-time teacher, what would your dream job be?

I’m doing my dream job! I explored other options when I was made redundant, but kept coming back to children and education. Being part of a child’s learning is an amazing opportunity. I like the relationship that is built by seeing the same child every day over a sustained period of time. Perhaps a governess.

What have you enjoyed most about Bucharest so far?

The architecture of the city, alongside large green spaces and being able to cycle to work and drinking beer in the Old Town.

Besides being a full-time teacher, you also coordinate the varied Girlguiding BSB school programme. How did you become involved in the Girlguiding movement?

My Girlguiding journey started with Brownies, as Rainbows were not invented then, and I was also a Guide. I became a Guide leader at the same time as being a newly qualified teacher. I was keen to bring Guiding to Romania and the girls of BSB.

Can you tell us a little more about Girlguiding and how it can help empower young girls?

The ethos of Girlguiding is to give girls a voice. Girls decide their own journey in Girlguiding, and they choose what they want to do; that’s empowering. My purpose is simply to provide them with opportunities. A Rainbow can ask to go camping, and 1st Bucharest Rainbows became the first unit in Europe to spend a night under canvas! A couple of Brownies have been inspired to continue their charity work, following our World Thinking Day activities. I love offering Guides a chance to run activities and to take responsibility for leadership.

And finally, tell us something unexpected about yourself.

My previous mode of transport to get to work was a racing red Triumph Herald convertible. Great fun to drive up and down the lanes of North Yorkshire, and as old as me!