Gezina Gillen is a Teacher of English as an Additional Language (EAL) at our Junior School Diamanthorst (JSD) campus, with a keen interest in #Translanguaging. We recently sat down with Gezina to discuss what made her decide to apply for a role at the BSN, how she has benefited from her most recent professional development and who inspires her.
”What inspires me most about teaching in an international context is having the chance to work in a global setting with other educators who are constantly striving for high standards.
Is BSN your first teaching position abroad?
This is my first overseas teaching position, but I have volunteered with teenage refugees living in a camp and part of my university degree involved living in the U.S.
What inspires you about teaching in an international context?
The chance to work in a global setting with other educators who are constantly striving for high standards.
What inspired you to apply for The BSN in particular?
The opportunity to work in an incredibly diverse school with pupils from more than eighty different nationalities where there is a positive focus on the rich cultural community.
What was the biggest adjustment/challenge when moving to The Netherlands?
I spent most of my childhood summer holidays here as I am half Dutch, so I did not suffer too much from culture shock. I still sometimes forget how very punctual the Dutch like to be; I have been phoned by Dutch friends when I am one minute late for a social event!
What’s the best thing about living in The Netherlands?
Being able to cycle (almost) everywhere is a simple pleasure, especially after years on the Tube and train.
”What inspired me to apply for a role at the BSN was the opportunity to work in an incredibly diverse school with pupils from more than 80 different nationalities where there is a positive focus on the rich cultural community.
What advice would you give a new colleague on their first day at BSN?
Remember that it is part of the learning process to ask again (and again) if you have forgotten something that you have been told!
What’s the most valuable lesson about Teaching you have learned since joining the BSN?
Not to make assumptions that everyone thinks the same way as you do, so many of our attitudes are affected by our cultural experiences. When issues arise, I try to see matters from a totally different viewpoint.
What was the most recent professional development course/workshop you have done?
I am currently studying for my Master’s Degree with a distance learning programme from the University of Birmingham. The Bilingualism in Education programme is directly relevant to my role as an English as an Additional Language teacher at the BSN. It has developed my knowledge and understanding of working with bilingual students, enhanced my classroom practice and increased my awareness of working with a diverse school community.
Favourite teaching resource/professional book?
Widgit online software creates a visual text using symbols. It enables pupils to access texts from the earliest stages of their language development.
Describe BSN in 3 words?
Diverse, aspiring and reflective
What do you do to unwind after a busy day at school?
I love to exercise and in recent years have discovered the joys of running. There are so many beautiful places to run in The Hague, from the dunes to the forests.
Who inspires you?
My family; my father, who taught me about the importance of lifelong learning by studying for his Masters in his late eighties and my children, remind me to take pleasure in the simple things in life, like a walk on the beach, a story in bed.
Thank you, Gezina, for the positive impact you have had on the BSN students and community!
Celebrating our BSN Staff
The BSN has changed and adapted over its 90 years, but the importance of the community remains. Each student, family, and staff member, past and present, have contributed to shaping the BSN into what it is today.