Member Spotlight #35: Anita Sutton (A teacher at the British International of Moscow)
January 21, 2017
Tell us about your background. Where are you from?
I graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelors of Education specialising in Early Childhood Education. I am a passionate Early Years advocate and am inspired by the Reggio Emilio approach.
How did you get started in the international teaching community?
When I graduated from university I wanted to explore working in the UK. I lived in Bristol, UK for 2 years working in primary schools all over the district, which helped me gather lots of ideas, experiences and helped me build a bank of knowledge from more experienced teachers.
After 2 years, a colleague recommended I look to the Middle East for more adventure, which lead me into taking a position as an EYFS teacher in a British International School in Dubai. I worked there for 3 years before taking up my current post in Moscow, Russia.
Which international schools have you worked at? Please share some aspects of the schools that made them unique and fun places in which to work.
I worked at Jumeriah Baccalaureate School in Dubai and currently working at the British International of Moscow.
Dubai was a great opportunity to learn about the melting pot of cultures, I had over 15 different cultures and heritages in my class of 20.
Because Dubai has such a range of expats your class list reads like a meeting of the United Nations. I got to work with a range of teachers from all over which was a great opportunity to learn new things and approaches.
Dubai has so much to do but I didn’t save very much money, but the experience was invaluable and had definitely given me the skills to be flexible and keen for a new adventure which led me to Russia.
In Moscow, the language is the biggest barrier but I am determined to speak a basic level of Russian. I am enjoying the change in climate, from 50+ for 8 months of the year to -3 to -18 for 8 months of the year. I also loved experiencing my first ever Autumn. We don’t really have Autumn in the area I’m from in Australia, it’s just scorching hot or warm. Moscow was so colourful, the red, the yellow, orange and the green, I had forgotten how beautiful nature was after the desert! Snow has been interesting but the architecture in Moscow is stunning!
Describe your latest cultural encounter (or reverse cultural encounter) in your current placement, one that put a smile on your face.
Coming from the Middle East, when you greet someone it’s always 3 kisses to the cheek, back and forth. I arrived in Russia and kept going for the third kiss when greeting people, which, in Europe is one on each side, so it seemed like I was trying to be a little more than friendly when I first arrived in Russia.
What are some important things that you look for when you are searching for a new position at an international school?
I found it has been really helpful to make sure that any school I am considering working at is supportive of their staff, and has a clear vision of where SLT see the school going.
I also like to get a clear idea of how much importance Heads of school place the Early Years. Good Heads of School/Primary keep up to date with current research and know that when children have access to a strong foundational beginning in school, it is beneficial to building an exceptional student as they progress through school, which leads to a strong school and a happy student base.
In exactly 5 words, how would you describe the international school teaching experience?
Enriching, adventurous, challenging, rewarding, limitless.
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Want to work for an international school in the Eastern Europe like Anita? Currently, we have 105 international schools listed in Eastern Europe on International School Community. 54 of them have had comments submitted on their profiles. Here are just a few of them:
Pechersk School International (Kyiv, Ukraine) – 122 Comments
International School of Belgrade (Belgrade, Serbia) – 34 Comments
Anglo-American School of Moscow (Moscow, Russia) – 66 Comments
Wroclaw International School (Wroclaw, Poland) – 46 Comments
American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland) – 82 Comments
International School of Latvia (Riga, Latvia) – 33 Comments
American International School of Zagreb (Zagreb, Croatia) – 29 Comments
Anglo American School of Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria) – 28 Comments
International School of Azerbaijan (Baku, Azerbaijan) – 39 Comments