22 Years of Teaching and Learning Together at BSB

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Mrs. Ana-Maria Marin joined the British School of Bucharest in 2000, our opening year. Ana-Maria has been with School through all the essential steps to create and deliver an excellent learning environment for children. She worked with the School Office, gave Romanian lessons for students and parents, was a co-teacher in Pre-Nursery and played a supporting role for the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Department and the Able, Gifted and Talented Department. She assists with organising trips and other enrichment activities for Primary. Additionally, she is a graduate of Romanian and English Literature at the University of Bucharest.


You have taken part in BSB's journey since 2000, our opening year. What does this community mean to you?  

I was 22 years old when I started here and School had 22 students at the time. I have now been part of this for 22 years, exactly half my life. BSB was and continues to be a learning journey most of all. I have met so many wonderful families and with some I am still in contact, even after decades. The same stands for colleagues that moved on, I still keep in touch with many of them. Some of my most rewarding friendships are with people I met through School. For the past 15 years, BSB has been my daughter’s school as well. This added the parent perspective and increased the role School played in my life. The sense of community has always been what I appreciated the most about BSB.

How has BSB changed over the years?

If change means the various types of additions, it would be hard to make sure I don’t miss something of importance when listing all the amazing things I have witnessed happening here. I have lived through three campus moves, four headmasters and several overseas inspections. School is different today from what it was yesterday, sometimes it is different in the afternoon from what it was in the morning but, if I am to be honest, it is what hasn’t changed at all that keeps me here: the warm and authentic relationships with students and colleagues; endless positive learning experiences and the social and emotional aspects of the School’s learning climate that tell me this is a safe place.

Your roles at BSB throughout the years have been diverse. Can you tell us which was the most rewarding in terms of experience and the insights into how to create an excellent learning environment for children?

I am grateful for all my rebirths here. Each role I have had proved I am still to discover who I am at my best and what my limitations are. Every time I felt the bravery of stepping out of my comfort zone and sticking my head above the parapet. Working with just one Year Group for a whole School Year brings different challenges and rewards than getting to see each class in Primary over the course of every School week or teaching my mother tongue to adults. Administrative tasks tap different skills than teaching ones. All of it translates into confidence and I have so much of that to offer. My days never were and never will be boring. I only wish I could turn this around and provide the same openness for our students. I believe a child learns when feeling safe, when feeling seen and when opportunities are plenty. If they are in continuous competition with themselves, children are more likely to take risks, ask questions, welcome diverse opinions and generate more productive and creative solutions.

Which of your skills have helped you most in your current role as a Librarian?

To start with, I had to dig deep here. Librarians are organised people by trade and also  multi-taskers. Fourteen years ago, these were my challenges but I like challenges. It helped that I’ve always read as much as I could. Reading has always been my first choice whenever I got some time to spare. I guess this is what made me say yes right away when asked if I would like to take on the role of Primary Librarian. My love of books was the starting point but the Library runs within the safety structure of rules and regulations and the work ‘behind the scenes’ was not what I expected. If I am to name one skill, that would be a strong commitment to becoming integral to teaching and learning in our School. The benefits of reading for pupils' overall attainment are well known. As Librarian, my job is to match the child with the right book and make sure they come back for another book and another and then some more.

How do you go about creating an inviting environment that promotes learning in the Library space?

This ranges from providing suitable and the most up to date reading material (in terms of age, reading abilities, interests, curriculum links, etc.), to arranging comfortable seating and quiet areas. The Library is open throughout the School Day and classes also have a scheduled once a week visit. The joy of reading is celebrated through various displays and events throughout the School Year. Our students take part in reading competitions and receive the visits of published authors. I am fortunate that School has the resources to make all of this possible.

In your opinion, how can you enrich a pupil's experiences in the Primary years?

Often in School, with teachers and SLT, almost everything is about data, as much quantifiable data as possible, from exam results to assessment grades or evaluation criteria for progress, everything they do is about this. It is part and parcel of their daily jobs and it is like a language. As Librarian and member of the support staff (aka Special Forces), my job is to speak this language alongside them and one more in parallel. Apart from making sure I promote School values and ethos in all I do, I also have the liberty to encourage creativity, spontaneity and individuality.

What are the most valuable lessons you've learned from your time here at BSB?

I have learnt that children are the best teachers and also to clear mirrors if you want to know yourself better.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself or about a book you hold dear.

I have named my daughter after a student I worked with, a little Japanese girl that came to us with no English at all. She could only express herself through gestures and art but sometimes the deepest of connections does not need words.

Since 1997, when I first came across it, I have read my favourite book seven times already. I’m pretty sure I might read it again in the future. With so many books to read and so little time, you might be curious what made me do this and how it speaks to me differently with every consequent read. I would be happy to tell you more and tell you what book it is. I cannot help it, there is no more to say, ‘Who has read so far?’

June 2022


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