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A Whirlwind First Week in Slovenia

I have now spent a full week in Slovenia, and despite the mostly rainy and dismal weather, I am loving living here!

When we arrived on Friday, after a rather quick 2 hour flight from London, we were driven to the house that we will be staying in during our time here. It is situated in a rather quiet part of Ljubljana, but a very short distance to the centre (and a 1 minute walk to a very nice pub!).

Myself and the 2 boys from my course are sharing the house with 5 other people from the University of Minnesota. It has been great getting to know them and spend time with them, and realising how they are just as crazy as us Scots. What I find hilarious is the fact that half of the time they do not have a clue what we are saying. On the other hand, I myself feel like I am in an american TV show when listening to their amazing accents.

We did not have much time to unpack on Friday as we quickly had to head in to the centre to sort out some documents. We had to walk to the centre, and whilst the walk was longer than I anticipated it to be, it was nice to be able to see the city of Ljubljana, and learn about the city from the teacher who was showing us around. We had to collect our bus passes which we needed in order to get to and from places and also collect our meal vouchers.

An amazing scheme Slovenia has is that they pay certain restaurants to allow students to have money of their meal prices. This will come very handy when it comes to eating out, and already I have managed to get a pizza for 5 euro and a giant tub of noodles for only 2.50 euro!

I have noticed quite a lot of difference between Slovenia and Scotland already having only lived here a week. Firstly, they drive on the right side of the road. This took some time to get used to the first few days, as myself and the boys would find ourselves looking the wrong way down the road to look for traffic. Another thing that is different is the custom of greeting people. We were told by the headteacher at DKIS that, in the country, people always greet each other when entering a room. I found this very interesting and, whilst I found it strange to begin with, I have grown to like this idea and has made me feel more welcomed into the community of Ljubljana.

The chocolate pudding ‘hot chocolate’

The final difference I noticed from home is what Slovenia define as ‘hot chocolate’. Now, in Scotland, hot chocolate is a hot drink with cocoa powder and milk. In Slovenia however, I can only describe as a chocolate pudding type consistency. I was quite shocked when I tried it for the first time but I love it indeed!

I have been researching and talking to people whilst I have been in Slovenia about all the places and activities we need to do whilst we are here. I plan on visiting the caves, other towns in Slovenia, the museums, Lake Bled and I even fancy venturing out to a neighbouring country.


The group of 8 of us decided on Wednesday that we would try out one of the suggestions and so we ventured out on a day trip to Lake Bohinj. It was beautiful!. We had picked a lovely day to go and were able to spend time walking around the lake, taking in the gorgeous sights and we even got to have a look in local church which was being refurbished. The place was so peaceful and I could have spent even more time there. I would love to be able to visit it again in the Summer time and go canoeing on the stunning water. The lake can also rise to a comfortable temperature in the summer so it would be a perfect place to have a swim.

The real reason I came to Slovenia was to teach at Danila Kumar International School. I have been loving this so much! To get the school everyday, we have to take 2 buses. I was very shocked at the size of these buses, as they are pretty much two regular sized buses connected together! I can only describe the journey on the first bus as a cattle market. You are squashed up against strangers and it can get very stuffy. Luckily, a lot of people get off before we do so we can actually breath near the end of it. I will still have to get used to the bus journeys!








I have had an amazing first week, and look forward to what the next seven weeks bring. I have lots of plans to visit different places both within and outwith Slovenia.





Reflection, what is it good for?

In today’s lecture, the focus was largely on the importance of reflecting as a teacher, both in and out of school. The General Teaching Council (Scotland) have the Standards for Provisional Registration, which outline that engaging in reflection is key to becoming a striving and beneficial teacher.

3.4.2 Engage in reflective practice to develop and advance career-long professional learning and expertise Professional Actions

Student teachers:

 reflect and engage in self evaluation using the relevant professional standard;

 adopt an enquiring approach to their professional practice and engage in professional enquiry and professional dialogue;

 evaluate their classroom practice, taking account of feedback from others, in order to enhance teaching and learning;

 engage where possible in the processes of curriculum development, improvement planning and professional review and development;

 work collaboratively to share their professional learning and development with colleagues;

 maintain a record of their own professional learning and development, culminating in an Initial Professional Development Action Plan.                                                                                                                                                                                       (GTCS standards for provisional registration,                                                                                                                                                                 2012)

We were asked to think about a key moment about our professional development in semester one and reflect on what we learnt from this and what the processes of reflection are beginning to mean for ourselves.

A very striking memory from semester one which I feel covers this is during the working together module. For the assignment, we all had to reflect on how well we thought we worked together as a team, and what we all thought of each other as peers. It became very clear as we progressed with this task that we did not work as well together as we first thought. We began to identify gaps in our learning and communication with each other, and how we did not reflect on this and try to solve it straight away, but instead, kept it quiet, ultimately not solving the problem.

I feel I learnt a lot about the importance of reflection from such a small, somewhat straightforward task. I learnt that it is so important to reflect on collaborative working in particular, as, by reflecting on how you work well with others, you can identify any issues and resolve them as quickly as possible.

This made me realise that reflection is very important in the teaching profession, as it can help me to identify what  I have done particularly well on, but also, what I need to improve on. Without reflection, the same mistakes will be made and they will never be changed or thought about. By reflecting, I can identify issues and work on these to ensure I become the best teacher I can possibly be.

“Unless teachers develop the practice of critical reflection, they stay trapped in unexamined judgments, interpretations, assumptions, and expectations. Approaching teaching as a reflective practitioner involves fusing personal beliefs and values into a professional identity” (Larrivee, 2000, p.293)

Why teaching?

When I was in the process of applying for university in my last year of school, I was very much set on choosing Primary Education as the profession to follow. However, when I told people what I wanted to be they always asked the same question.




Whenever someone asked me this question, I always replied with ‘I just always have wanted to do it’. When thinking back to being a child, I always said that I wanted to be a teacher, yet I never really knew the real reason as to why I really wanted to be a teacher.

When I was writing my personal statement I had to write a section on why I chose education as my choice of career. Honestly, I struggled so hard with this, and spent weeks trying to figure out what I wanted to write. When I was doing this, I had second thoughts. Was teaching really the profession I wanted to follow or was I just choosing it because it was embedded in my head from being a child.

I can remember sitting in the library whilst trying to write my personal statement, still struggling with figuring out why I wanted to teach. As cheesy as this may sound, I stopped writing and looked around the library when I saw a quote on the wall.


On reading this quote, I suppose I could say a light bulb switched on in my head. I wanted to be able to make a change to children’s lives. I had a very good upbringing, and an excellent education, and I have realised that I have chosen teaching because I feel every child deserves a good education like me. Being a teacher means I can educate children, and help them to become well-rounded adults who can be whatever they want to be, regardless of background, race, religion or gender.

Also, I want to be a teacher because working with children is generally something I have always enjoyed doing. I love engaging with children and learning about how they learn and work, and being able to part of that is something that really interests me.

So, if anyone ever asks me now, ‘Why teaching’ I don’t say it’s because I have always wanted to, I can say that it is because I want to be able the change the world, even if it is just by teaching a child their ABC’s.