The Wonderful World of Teaching

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Kelly Salmon has been a Class Teacher in Primary at the British School of Bucharest since 2021. She completed her Primary PGCE at the University of Sussex in 2014 after completing a Psychology (BSc) degree in 2010. After graduation, she taught Key Stage 1 in England, then moved to Shanghai in China for three years where she taught in bilingual kindergartens. Kelly has joined us after teaching Reception for two years in an international school in Cadiz, Spain. She has a big passion for 'learning through play' and encouraging 'hands-on' learning throughout the curriculum.

Sum up your role at BSB.

I was delighted when I got offered my job at BSB but even more excited when I found out I would be teaching in Year 1. After four years of working with Reception-aged children in different settings in Shanghai and Spain, I was very excited to embrace a new challenge and moved back to working in Key Stage One. In Year 1, I work with an excellent collaborative team, who all have the same goal of bringing as much fun as possible to the days of the children that we teach. No day is ever the same in Year 1 – from visits to the forest, creative art lessons and sense walks to Superhero days. I love my job!

What motivated you to apply for a teaching job at BSB?

I had been working in Spain for the last two years, which I absolutely loved but I wanted a change of scenery whilst still being close to my family. One of my teaching assistants in Spain was from Sibiu and was always showing me such beautiful photos – this made me become very interested in visiting Romania. I came across the job advertisement on the TES website and did some more online research about the School. I was first taken in by the facilities and beautiful School buildings I saw on the website – going on the virtual tour, I was amazed! On a closer look, it was clear that BSB had high educational standards but also focused on the ‘whole child’ which really appealed to my teaching ethos.

What were your expectations before you joined BSB? Have they been fulfilled?

From my two interviews I had with different members of management, I expected to join a supportive, open and friendly team at BSB. These expectations have definitely been fulfilled and I felt incredibly welcome from the moment I arrived in Bucharest!

In your opinion, what are some of the benefits of studying the British Curriculum at BSB?

After working at a couple of schools in Shanghai which used alternative curriculums, I believe that the British Curriculum really promotes a high standard of learning. The British Curriculum gives flexibility in how teachers deliver the learning objectives and gives room for creativity whilst still meeting the end of year goals. This means that we can adapt our teaching to really engage all of the students in our class alongside delivering high quality lessons.

Tell us more about your teaching philosophy of `learning through play'. 

I truly believe that the best learning experiences are activities that hold meaning and are memorable for the children (I still remember dressing up in Victorian clothing to visit a manor on a school trip when I was seven years old). The first year I taught in Shanghai I worked as an English teacher and the curriculum was very active and hands-on. I would use role play to get the children excited about our learning, setting up restaurant/shop/airport (and many more!) settings in the classroom to get the children excited as soon as they entered the classroom. I then went on to teach in Reception, where I was fortunate to work with some amazing Early Years Practitioners who inspired me to create fun and engaging practical learning opportunities. I believe that all children have different learning styles but play is a shared experience which can be a safe space to test ideas and build children’s confidence and self-esteem.

How do you encourage our children's sense of wonder and natural curiosity?

I love teaching in Year 1, as to promote a smooth transition from Reception – we approach our learning in a similar way making sure the children have access to many practical learning experiences. Creating a ‘hook’ to really capture the children’s attention and excitement from the beginning of a topic is really important – like finding a letter from a Superhero or discovering the Giant from Jack in the Beanstalk’s footprints in the classroom. You want the children to go home at the end of the day still excited and wondering what might happen next!

What are some of your most successful strategies for engaging students?

I really believe in the importance of using books to captivate children’s imaginations – I know, that as an adult  - my love of reading came from a very young age (my parents used to say I was like Belle from Beauty in the Beast because I always had my ‘head in a book’!). A high-quality text can really help to engage students, even if reading is an area they find tricky – they can lose themselves in a great story. It is really important to know your students well and what it is that motivates them as an individual learner. When I taught in Year 2 in England I had a few boys in my class who absolutely loved comics, so when we started our topic about Superheroes and were creating comic strips – I could see their curiosity and engagement with writing hugely increased.

How will you encourage parents to support their children's education?

As a teacher I believe it is very important to have open communication with the parents of the children that you teach. Having that back and forth communication allows you to build up a relationship and really be able to discuss the children’s successes and their next steps. However frustrating the online learning can be sometimes, I believe a positive of this experience has helped parents to see how we work with their children and given them tools to further their child’s learning at home. I also keep in regular contact with the parents about our current topic (currently Amazing Animals in Year 1), so parents can speak to the children about their learning at home.

What are your goals for this Academic Year?

We are facing challenging times right now with the pandemic, so a big goal of mine is to make sure the children have a safe and fun learning environment when they come to School. Children all over the world have gone through so many challenges in the last two years and I think as a teacher it is a very important part of my job to make sure that even in these strange times that the children in my class are having fun and accessing high quality educational experiences.

And finally: tell us something unexpected about yourself.

I worked for Disney for a year! In my first year in Shanghai I worked as an English teacher for ‘Disney English’ (it very nearly lived up to my childhood dream of becoming a Disney Princess). It was lots of fun – teaching English through a creative, hands-on curriculum which captivated the children’s interest straight away, because who doesn’t like Disney? It also meant I got free entry to all the Disney Parks around the world – so I checked Shanghai and Hong Kong off my list!


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