Story/Interview September 19, 2019
Cassandra always had dreams of becoming a teacher. Now an online teacher at King's InterHigh, she imparts her passion for English to students in Year 7 through to Year 11.
"Completing my teaching placements and becoming a qualified teacher is my proudest academic achievement; it was a wonderful feeling to enter a career that I continue to find so fulfilling."
Why did you decide to go into teaching?
Although it sounds like a cliché, I have always wanted to be a teacher. I can remember setting up a school in my bedroom as a child and insisting on teaching my poor younger brother. The best moments in teaching happen when I feel I’ve managed to impart some of my passion for my subject – English; those times when my students not only understand but are filled with enthusiasm and eager to find out more. I feel very fortunate to be able to help students achieve the results they need to move on to the next stage in their education.
What inspired you to make the change to online schooling?
Having taught in bricks and mortar schools in the UK and Italy, I was intrigued by the opportunity to teach online. During my maternity leave, a colleague introduced me to the ‘EtonX’ online tuition programme, and I then began to work as a tutor online before applying for a permanent teaching position with King’s InterHigh in 2016.
How is teaching with King's InterHigh different to teaching at a bricks and mortar school?
An online lesson feels very purposeful; distractions are minimal and students are able to really focus on the key content of the lesson. Whilst it is an adjustment not being able to ‘see’ my students, I have other methods of communicating with them that I would not have in a bricks and mortar classroom.
Throughout the lesson, students that may have felt unsure or unable to ask questions in a physical school environment are able to contact me privately. It is a real asset to be able to ‘check-in’ with these students.
What is the best feature of King's InterHigh for you as a teacher?
As the school has grown, there have been many opportunities to develop as a teacher. I completed the first stage of a postgraduate qualification in teaching students with dyslexia; I was invited to speak at the prestigious BETT (British Educational Training and Technology) show and this year, I am designing and teaching a new style of course for King’s InterHigh – Applied Communication.
How does the King's InterHigh online platform enrich lessons for both you and the students?
The platform is a very versatile teaching tool in that it enables me to present information in different ways and to collect students’ work in various forms. Students can send handwritten work, typed documents, presentations, audio or video files.
The Speedgrader is fantastic; I can mark work, highlighting and annotating as I would a physical piece of homework, but I can also leave verbal feedback and students can respond to my comments. A lesson does not simply have to be time spent in the classroom; students can revisit the resources I have used and can continue to contribute to a discussion forum or ask questions via email.
How do King's InterHigh teachers encourage students to become involved in outdoor activities and social interaction?
I believe it is important for teachers at King’s InterHigh, and indeed at any school, to encourage students to develop hobbies and interests outside of school. An important benefit of online schooling is that it can afford students the flexibility they need to pursue their passions. I have taught several students who travel due to sporting or acting commitments, for instance. I also enjoy my time with my Tutor Group, as we discuss topics such as physical health and wellbeing, social lives and relationships, and students’ plans for the future.
What is your proudest academic achievement?
I have a BA (Hons) in Education and Qualified Teacher Status. Completing my teaching placements and becoming a qualified teacher is my proudest academic achievement; it was a wonderful feeling to graduate and enter a career that, almost ten years on, I continue to find so fulfilling.