10 questions with Ben MacGregor
Meet Ben MacGregor, one of our talented teachers from The English International School Prague. He knows a thing or two about readjusting to a new city and has some valuable advice to parents on choosing an international school.
Meet Ben MacGregor, one of our talented teachers from The English International School Prague. Ben is passionate about being an educator and has worked in the Middle East, Europe, Australia, and the US. He knows a thing or two about readjusting to a new city and has some valuable advice to parents on choosing an international school.
Name: Ben MacGregor
Country of Residence: Czech Republic
Country of Origin: Australia
Subjects I teach: English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, Geography, History, PE
Grades I teach: Year 6-8
Places I've lived: Australia, Hawaii, Kuwait, Czech Republic
What was your first reaction when you first arrived to Prague?
When I first arrived in Prague, it was very different from the Middle East. The architecture, weather and culture made me feel like I was stepping into a European fairy tale. Prague has changed over the years, in particular the last 3 or 4 years with a more cosmopolitan lifestyle emerging in front of my eyes. Prague just seems to be getting better. The feeling of living in a fairy tale setting still remains, and it has now become a place I consider home.
What is the best thing about being a teacher?
Simple: Working with the children and watching them learn.
Why did you choose Nord Anglia Education to expand your career?
I consider myself a professional educator. I am a person who values both education and quality. When looking at the company ethos, direction and desire to grow and become the pre-eminent premium global educator, for a teacher who values education and quality, the company seemed liked a perfect fit. The opportunities provided to me personally by working at Nord Anglia Education have been phenomenal. All staff have access to world-class, unique and specialised training and trainers within the organisation. The growing scope of multiple global campuses and colleagues opens up a world of opportunities. The company is also developing links with the finest tertiary institutions for the ongoing development of student and staff through collaborations with the Julliard School, and King’s College London. I don’t know of any other employer in the educational sphere, or other industries, that could possibly provide staff with such rich, diverse and expansive career prospects.
How does NAE compare to other schools you’ve taught at?
I have been very lucky with all of the schools I have taught in. The first, was an exceptional ‘pilot’ school, where we lead initiatives and best practice for outstanding pastoral and academic outcomes. The second, was a family friendly school where again the children’s care was at the forefront, however the academic standard could have been more robust. I feel working within the Nord Anglia family, especially at my school, that I have found a successful mixture of the both. I have also had the opportunity to visit other schools within the Nord Anglia family. Across the company, the same ethos of academic excellence, with outstanding pastoral and personal care is evident. I feel this is the best school I have taught in, and company I have worked for.
Recommend the best place for families to visit in your city.
Prague is a very liveable city. It is easy to walk around; the public transport is second to none and there is plenty to do for everyone in the family. From walks through the cobbled streets; museums and concerts; coffee and treats; to adventure playgrounds with high wire walkways; ice-skating, mini-golf and rollerblading; skiing and snowboarding; to aqua park adventures with new found friends; incredible diverse local and cosmopolitan cuisine – Prague has something for everybody. It is just a case of knowing where to look.
Your one piece of advice for students moving/living abroad.
Treat this as a new adventure, a new experience to meet new friends, learn new things and find more of your amazing self. Don’t doubt yourself, you are capable of amazing things.
What is the one lesson that you want your students to take away with them at the end of the academic year?
I want all my students to know, genuinely understand, that they can achieve anything, and can shape the world now, and in the future.
Your one piece of advice for parents moving/living abroad.
Even though you may be moving for work, and your life is busy, your children are, should and will always be the most important. This being said, ensure they are happy. Most of their time will be spent at school. Spend the time to research the school, the friendship opportunities and the availability of clubs and other extra-curricular activities. I am proud to be an educator in the Nord Anglia family because I know our network of schools pride themselves in caring for children. If children are cared for by dedicated professionals, are provided with ambitious opportunities, and are happy - they will learn. Before coming to a new city, choose the right school and make sure your children are happy.
Why did you become an educator?
It was never my intention to become an educator. During my honours year at university, I was studying something completely different . My faculty asked me to teach first year students. At first I wasn’t sure, but after a while I began to love the whole concept of sharing knowledge and the way we learn. It became more than passing on knowledge, it became about learning about learning. I was then offered the opportunity to formalise my education experience within a qualification and jumped at the chance. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my other discipline – I did and was very good at it too! Once I began working with children with a key interest in helping them ‘learn how to learn’, I haven’t looked back.
What does it mean to YOU to be a teacher?
Teaching is everything. My students sometimes ask me why I teach and it is a very easy, and a very hard question to answer. It is just a feeling. A feeling of being involved in the next generation, imparting knowledge and skills, developing engaging relationships with a wider community and watching others grow, evolve and succeed. It is a passion, which is all encompassing, challenging and rewarding. I have done a lot of jobs, but nothing like this, and it is hard to think of doing anything else. Teaching is everything – it is an amazing career.