Siobhan Enjoys the Freedom of Creativity
Siobhan Williams studied Graphic Design at the University of Teesside before gaining a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) in Design & Technology from the University of Sunderland. She worked in the U.K. teaching Art and Design & Technology for four years while also studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Education. Siobhan's first international teaching position was at Haileybury Almaty School in Kazakhstan, where she spent five years teaching Art.
Why did you choose to become a Teacher of Art and Design & Technology?
My journey to becoming a Teacher was accidental and not something that I had planned. After I finished my degree, I stumbled across an 'advert' from Sunderland University promoting their Design Technology PGCE. It seemed like an interesting option and after chatting to staff there it seemed like my experience in Graphic Design would enable me to teach within the DT curriculum. I feel lucky that I have had opportunities to work across both departments throughout my career.
How did you get into art and what triggered your passion?
From an early age, I enjoyed making, creating and having the freedom to try new skills. I don’t think there was a particular trigger. I was just drawn to creative lessons and activities. My family members are interested in artistic endeavours such as music, stained glass production, graphic design and jewellery manufacture so it is natural that I would be influenced by them.
What qualities are necessary to be an excellent Head of Key Stage 4?
I feel the skills I need to be an effective Head of Key Stage are constantly evolving. Every day presents a new challenge that requires a different approach. Utilising an empathetic nature in my interactions with students, staff and parents has been key during the past year. To be able to put myself in someone else's position and to try and better understand the situation they are in has helped me support and build trusting relationships with the students in my care.
How did you decide on BSB?
When considering which part of the world I wanted to move to after Kazakhstan I was drawn to Romania and BSB for several reasons. In my opinion, Romania felt undiscovered and a potential hidden gem in Europe and after many road trips, I have been proved correct. From the beach to the mountains, castles to ancient ruins I have always had somewhere or something to discover. Choosing BSB was easy as I was keen to work in a School that had community spirit and family values at its core.
How is BSB different from the previous schools you've taught at?
My previous schools have been newly constructed purpose-built schools, so the campus here at BSB is very different. I really like how quirky it is but also how changeable, creative and adaptable we can be with the space. The grounds here at BSB are certainly more beautiful!
What do you enjoy most about your career?
I never stop learning. My knowledge and skills in art are constantly evolving as the range of materials, techniques and processes are seemingly never-ending. There is such a long rich history of art, from every culture on the planet, to take inspiration from. I am keen to keep up with and absorb current practices that are developing quickly with new technologies. Art is such a vast topic that it can be overwhelming at times to comprehend how much of this subject I haven’t yet experienced!
What are some of the favourite projects in your lesson plan?
My favourite lessons are the ones that can’t be planned! The amazing thing about what we do in Art is that everyone can create and develop their own vision. A good example is how students in a GCSE class are given the same word or phrase as a starting point but then each one of them will steer their project in a completely different, unique and personal direction. The differentiated results are exciting to experience.
How do Art and Design & Technology prepare students for life?
Our subject encourages students to explore, experiment and discover. There is no correct answer or response. It allows students to take risks and to understand that ‘mistakes’ are positive experiences that we can learn from. I hope our subjects teach students to look for solutions in creative ways.
What are some of your personal and professional goals for the future?
I am not looking too far into the future. Right now, I am happy improving my knowledge and skills as a pastoral leader and Art Teacher.
If you weren't a Teacher, what would your dream job be?
If I wasn’t a Teacher, I would love to be a bespoke holiday planner! Planning vacations and the logistics of having the perfect holiday and seeing as much of what a city/country has to offer is so much fun. When I travel with my family almost every hour is planned and prepared for. Or, I would like to own and run a dog rescue centre.
And finally: tell us something unexpected about yourself.
It might be a bit of an unexpected fact that I enjoy weightlifting! I’ve been practising CrossFit for about five years and I’ve recently been working hard on my deadlift and Olympic weightlifting lifts (snatch/clean and jerk). I’m proud of my personal bests despite them being modest weights!
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