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Meet the Teacher: Ms Mackenzie

11 May 2018

For this week's 'Meet the Teacher' our Year 12 students, Jamie and Ji Min speak to English Teacher Ms Mackenzie.

Ms Mackenzie joined BIS HCMC in August 2017 from London, England. After qualifying as a teacher in 2000, Sam worked at Graveney School in London. As well as managing the school’s A Level English Literature provision, Sam led whole school projects to celebrate reading and literature. Let's find out more about Ms Mackenzie's time in Vietnam so far... 

  • Sam Mackenzie

Could you please tell us about your past teaching experience?

I taught in South London for 20 years in a school in Tooting. There I was teaching English, mainly A-level English Literature. It was a brilliant school with more than 2000 students, and I still revisit every time I go back to London.

What would you say is the biggest difference between teaching in London and teaching here?

I think teaching here is very different. Firstly, the pupils. You are motivated, organised, committed, particularly to business (chuckle) and becoming the next tycoons of Vietnam. Also in some ways, if I’m being honest, it’s easier to teach here, because the classes are much smaller. The facilities are definitely better, so there are good and bad differences - mostly good. I’m staying here for a while!

What have you found interesting since you first came to Vietnam?

I’ve discovered fresh coconut. Oh, and I’ve discovered the world of the motorbike. I’ve never driven anything in my life, and I have a scooter now, and I love it. Also, I’m not just saying this: I absolutely believe that the Vietnamese people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. As a woman in this country I feel very safe, and people are just so helpful and kind in general.

What made you come to Vietnam?

My son had travelled here and he loved it. Then a job became available. Also, I had always wanted to live in South East Asia and jumped at the chance of being in Vietnam which is an interesting country and I wanted to experience and see if for myself.

What are your main interests?

Obviously I love reading books and I am interested in different ideas such as feminism and politics. I love music and dancing - it’s not something I’ve managed to get into my lessons yet! I love travelling and trying new things: I’ve learnt to dive recently!

What would you like students to know about your subject?

What I want students to realise is that English Literature is magical. And at the heart of my subject are books. Reading regularly is a gift and I want everyone who has studied English to go away with a love of reading for the rest of their life!

What do you think reading books can bring?

So many different things. From an educational point of view it improves your vocabulary and writing. It allows you to escape and inspires you to think.

Moving onto our last question, what do you think about pineapple on pizza?

As a vegetarian, I can go with that I guess. 

Jamie and Ji Min, Year 12 students