From the UK to Sunny Bermuda
Mhairi Flood-McCaw is a teacher from the UK who is in her second year teaching languages in Bermuda. Here she talks about swapping wet and windy UK for sunny, sultry Bermuda:
What led me to teach in Bermuda?
“I work in a very small foreign languages department at Somersfield Academy, an international school in Bermuda. I teach the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) to children aged between 11 and 16.
I studied languages at Leeds University and have experienced living abroad before - in both Mexico and Brazil. I’ve always enjoyed the challenges and adventures which come with living in a new place and particularly enjoy the lifestyles of countries with warmer climates. Moving to live and work in sunny Bermuda was a perfect choice for me!
I was initially attracted to Somersfield Academy because it’s a Montessori school that also teaches the IB Middle Years Programme. I realised that working in an environment which embraced and encouraged many different styles of teaching would give me the opportunity to grow as a teacher.
Opportunities to develop as a teacher
Since being at Somersfield Academy I’ve definitely developed as a teacher. The MYP allows me freedom and the opportunity to be creative in my teaching. As I no longer have to follow a national curriculum I can teach themes and topics that really interest me. For example, there’s more opportunity to teach arts and cultural subjects with the IB. The programme also encourages students to lead their own enquiries, which I think is wonderful. If I return to the UK, I will definitely try to teach in a way that is more creative and student led.
Another benefit of working in a small department of an international school is that it’s helped me to become more decisive and independent as a teacher. I’ve grown in confidence. I now work in a more conceptual way and take greater risks. I recently led an eTwinning project called Culture in a Box. My students created presentations for young people in a Parisian school who were studying Spanish. The children in Bermuda were so excited to use Spanish to communicate with other young Spanish learners across the globe.
Life outside the classroom
I love living in a warm, sunny climate and Bermuda has some breath-taking beaches. The island is small, just under 21 square miles, so I’ve had a chance to explore most of it. Living on a small island also makes it really easy to get around and socialise. It’s been really easy to make friends as Bermudians tend to be very open and friendly people. Sometimes I socialise with teachers from my school, but there are also lots of ex-pats here who have now become friends.
Living in a different country and within another culture has also given me the chance to experience new opportunities outside the classroom. I’ve learnt to ride a moped as this is a common form of transport in Bermuda. I’ve also tried kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and one weekend I even went whale watching!
I’ve started Bemuda’s first female flat-track roller derby team! I played roller derby for two years in Halifax, West Yorkshire and was sad to give up the sport when I moved away. Starting the team here has been challenging, but I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way, and have even been on TV here promoting the sport. Forty-two women have signed up and training is well underway at a beautiful, outdoor skate rink by the sea.
Bermuda is also ideally located for travel in the USA - I’m only a two hour flight away from New York City. I’m staying in Bermuda for at least another year during which I’m planning to explore America more.
Thanks to TIC my future looks bright
I really appreciated that the TIC team kept in contact with me during the interview process and their interview tips and advice were very useful. I would definitely use TIC in future...if I can ever leave this beautiful island!”