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Get To Know Your Teachers: Julie McDermott at Bellerbys Brighton

Posted 15 August 2014

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Are you thinking of studying Art? Julie McDermott is an art teacher at Bellerbys Brighton. We asked her a few questions what it’s like to be a teacher at an international school.

Are you thinking of studying Art? Julie McDermott is an art teacher at Bellerbys Brighton. We asked her a few questions about what it’s like to be a teacher at an international school.

What’s your favourite thing about teaching international students?
I love hearing about the students' experiences. Having many different cultures in the classroom not only makes interesting conversations but it can be reflected in their art work too. Teaching art to international students means that there is a wider pool of visual references, which is very interesting to see.

What was your first day like at Bellerbys Brighton?
I found that everyone was very friendly, from the security guards at the gate to the staff and the students. It’s a very welcoming environment. I also liked the open plan of the art rooms. Everyone is free to walk into the different rooms to see what others are doing and there’s no divided territory. It’s very relaxed. 

What would you say to students who are worried about their English level?
Be prepared to constantly evolve, no matter what level you start with. There will always be someone to help if you get really stuck, but my advice would be to practise speaking in English as much as possible. Try to make friends with people from different nationalities and really use every opportunity to embrace the British culture. Even reading emails and Facebook in English will be very helpful.

Why is art the best subject to teach?
I come from a painting background so art has always been a passion of mine. It’s amazing to see students expressing themselves and finding their own voice, that’s what art is all about! I enjoy guiding the self-directed project that students undertake later in the year, after they have developed more skills. It’s their time to really find their own voice and express their individual ideas.

What makes a lesson great for you?
The best lessons are when there is a lot of energy in the room and students are excited about their projects. When students are working independently there could be one person working on a fashion project in one part of the room and then someone else working with new materials somewhere else. I like it when there’s a lot going on and students are making their own discoveries.

What are your top tips for being a successful art student?
Take risks and always keep your eyes open for inspiration. Collect things that you find interesting and record your ideas. Be prepared to question and be questioned.

Corrina Taylor, Social Media Specialist

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