As an international school set across campuses around the Hague, from the outside, The British School in The Netherlands might seem just like a large organisation instead of what it really is. The BSN is a community made up of individuals who share their unique experiences and knowledge for the collective benefit. The school is not just a place or campus that you visit, but the meaningful relationships and connections that are built there.
Read on to meet one of our exceptional Class Teachers:
”My advice to a new teacher on their first day at the BSN would be: Throw yourself into the deep end and say “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way. You won’t regret it!
”I am inspired by the other members of my team. When I see everyone working so collaboratively to have the greatest impact on the children’s learning and wellbeing, I always feel immensely proud and inspired.
Is teaching at the BSN your first international position?
My teaching role at the BSN is my first international teaching position. Before this, I worked for four years in a state school in Hertfordshire, England.
What inspired you to teach internationally?
I spent the summer of 2014 travelling around central and southern America by myself. It was the first time I had ever travelled on my own, and I decided to throw myself into the deep end. During that summer, my eyes were opened to the possibility of other cultures, and by the time I returned to the UK, I knew there had to be more to experience than what I already knew. Having been on holiday to the Netherlands the previous year, I had long since earmarked the country as a potential future place to call home. I looked online for teaching jobs, and the rest is history.
What inspired you to apply for a position at the BSN?
After initially searching for international jobs in Amsterdam, I was alerted to another, albeit less known, beautiful Dutch city called The Hague. It did not take me long to identify the BSN as my preferred school of choice. I was blown away by the impressive website and warm welcome that I received from the HR team when organising my application.
What was the biggest adjustment/challenge when moving to the Netherlands?
Having to integrate into new and existing circles of friends. In the UK, I had, and still have, a very close-knit group of friends whom I have known since I was a child. Realising that I would not see them every day was a sudden and sobering realisation. With the UK only being 40 minutes away by plane, I have maintained a strong relationship with them and see them at least once every half term.
What’s the best thing about living in the Netherlands?
I particularly like the seasons of the Netherlands. The summers are slightly warmer, and the winters are colder, but that doesn’t stop everyone from getting on their bikes to get from A to B. In autumn, the Netherlands is awash with stunning orange trees and cycling through the forest on my way to school is made all the more spectacular.
What advice would you give a new teacher on their first day at BSN?
Throw yourself into the deep end and say “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way. You won’t regret it!
What’s the most valuable lesson about teaching you have learned since joining the BSN?
Since moving to the BSN, there have been a greater number of opportunities to speak in front of large groups of adults to share expertise etc. Initially, the prospect of doing this scared me, but once I realised that I could apply the same skills and level of confidence as when talking to children, I developed a number of coping mechanisms and techniques.
What was the most recent professional development programme/workshop you have done?
Recently I attended an extremely thought-provoking in-house INSET session focussing on spaced practice – the benefit of “spacing” learning activities out over time – led by two of our extremely passionate and knowledgeable colleagues. We read current research on the topic, identified what we already do successfully and considered new ways to develop our practice further.
Can you recommend a teaching resource?
If you are lucky enough to work in a team of teachers, the best teaching resources are your other team members! At the BSN, they are likely to have taught in different schooling systems around the world and are able to offer fresh perspectives and lesson ideas that may never have occurred to you.
Describe the BSN in 3 words?
Research led innovation.
What do you do to unwind after a busy day at school?
Cycle home through the spectacular Haagse Bos, our city’s largest forest, and have a coffee on Het Plein with a book.
What’s your favourite destination for a weekend getaway?
At the weekends, I often visit Rotterdam. It’s a brilliant and vibrant city with so much to offer. I have also enjoyed great weekend visits to Maastricht, Amsterdam, Texel and Utrecht.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by the other members of my team. When I see everyone working so collaboratively to have the greatest impact on the children’s learning and wellbeing, I always feel immensely proud and inspired.