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Meet the Staff: Jasminka Požek-Božuta, language teacher and puppeteer

jasminka požek-božuta with children in the forest at Bloom School Sarajevo.

Jasminka Požek-Božuta has taken on various roles throughout her years working at Bloom. From co-creating plays in the Performing Arts program to teaching the french and bosnian languages, and literature in lower primary school, Jasminka passes on her passion for languages and creative self-expression to her students on a daily basis.

Tell us something about yourself.

My name is Jasminka Požek-Božuta, by profession I am a teacher of French language and literature and a puppeteer.

When and how did you start working at Bloom?

I first entered Bloom a long time ago as an actress with the puppet show "Food Story". The Bloom school was located in Kovačići back then. Not long after that I was invited to be a member of the Bloom "Performing Art" program at the "then new" present school building. It was a wonderful and very successful project...

Did you work in any other educational environment before Bloom? What similarities and differences did you notice between them?

I never worked in a traditional educational environment prior to starting working at Bloom, but I was constantly interacting with children as I was exclusively engaged in puppetry and plays. I was also familiar with the dramatic work of the Sarajevo Puppetry Studio, of which I was a member.

However, I can say that I am a child of educators. Both of my grandmothers and grandfathers worked in education. One of my grandmothers was a teacher of Russian language and literature at Prva Gimnazija (First Gymnasium), and the other a biology teacher in an elementary school, and at that time she had a garden in Sarajevo where she taught students about agricultural work - the first of its kind. Her students were very grateful to her during the war; for some, the garden saved their lives.

Personally, I never saw myself in education, although I always loved children, because I didn't like the traditional approach to education. Bloom's way of working changed my mind quite a bit. For the first time, I found myself wanting to be a part of a classroom like we have at Bloom. Today, educational institutions very often forget about very important role they play in raising children. Their only focus is on academic education, and the rest is forgotten, neglected and suppressed.

How would you define your role at Bloom?

I try to give children a sense for the French language and to nurture love of languages ​​and literature in general. In addition to the French language, I place special emphasis on the Bosnian language and literature.

You have a great passion for puppetry - do you incorporate it into your teaching practice?

I try, although to be honest I could do more. Children respond very well to puppet. I have noticed on several occasions how helpful they be in class.

You mentioned that you started working at Bloom as part of the Performing Arts program we had at the time. Can you tell us about that experience?

It was a beautiful experience in which I learned a lot. At that time I was too critical; I was not mindful of each moment. Now when I look back, I see how successful it was in terms of artistic creation and in the benefits and positive impact it had on the children's psychophysical health. I think that every school should have its own team of drama experts because theatre is very "healing" for children.

There are many benefits of dramatic art in the education and upbringing of children. Children open up on stage - they acquire various skills such as proper speech and communication skills, as well improvisation; they build their self-confidence; and learn to problem solve and work in teams...

What do you hope to teach your students?

To be above all happy, satisfied with what they have. I hope to encourage their curiosity, and nurture their love for education, knowledge and life in general.

What have your students taught you? 

To remember to enjoy life and the little things.

Do you have a favorite moment from this school year?

We have many wonderful moments, it's hard to single one out. The most beautiful moments often happen outside, when we take the learning to places out in the fresh air.

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