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Nathan Shrom

My role at BBIS:

Primary Art Teacher, Grades 1 to 5

When did you join BBIS?

August 2005

What is your background?

I was born in rural Pennsylvania near Amish farms, and grew up from 6 years old in a suburb of Philadelphia. In high school I studied German and participated in a 2-month exchange programme in Albstadt Germany, near Stuttgart. It was this experience that convinced me that I would one day live in Europe. I studied at West Chester University, and got my first teaching job in 2002. After teaching two years in Pennsylvania, I decided I wanted to travel and looked online for overseas teaching jobs. BBIS found me, gave me a call, and two weeks later I was in Kleinmachnow. The position was Grade 4 homeroom teacher, working with Lorraine Jacobs-Hyde, who I still work closely with. My dream position of art teacher opened up as a vacancy in 2010, and I have been teaching art ever since. I have a German wife and two children, 12 and 14 years old.

What inspires you in your professional role?

My job as art teacher is to be inspired and to inspire children to create, so I am always inspired by new things/ideas. I get most of my inspiration from the children’s interests, colleagues’ ideas, and of course from my own experience in the world. Any sort of project that requires careful skill will usually inspire me enough to try it. I once heard someone say that nothing can be enjoyed without skill - I try to give children a broad range of skills in the art room so that they can explore further and enjoy a creative life.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about all handwork, especially with natural materials. Some day I will build my own art studio out of clay and other natural materials. I also like to restore/fix things; restoration gives me a sense of satisfaction not only from seeing something old come back to life, but also from the sustainable aspect of such work. In a society that mostly buys things new, people forget that fixing things can be rewarding and give us a deeper sense of purpose, including living sustainably.

What makes BBIS special?

There are many answers to this, but one is that BBIS is open to new ideas and encourages creativity. I depend on this for my job, so this is certainly special to me. Also, BBIS supports art as a subject in all grade levels, which sadly many schools do not do anymore. I hope that schools like BBIS influence other schools to bring the arts back as a regular part of their curriculum.