Story/Interview September 19, 2019
With a passion for language and communication, Louise loves helping children to progress and develop. She teaches Year 7 through to Year 13 at King's InterHigh.
Why did you decide to go into teaching?
I didn’t begin my career in teaching. My academic studies took me in a different direction, but I have always worked with children.
During my teenage years I volunteered with Girlguiding. I became a Young Leader and eventually a fully qualified Leader, travelling around the country camping and exploring with the Brownies and Guides.
I continued to volunteer through university and when I began my working career, I volunteered in a local charity helping handicapped children and swimming with them in a local pool.
At this point, I started my own family and after a short break, I was keen to get back to working with children. I returned to guiding, running a local Rainbows unit, as well as becoming a private teacher. I taught French to primary school children, which subsequently progressed to me obtaining my PGCE and qualifying as a secondary school teacher of languages.
What are your professional qualifications/accreditations?
I have a BSc Degree in International Management and French as well as a PGCE in language teaching. I have also put myself in the place of the students and completed an online TEFL course allowing me to teach English as a second language.
What do you love about teaching?
My love for teaching is based simply on a love of working with children. Helping them to progress in whatever they are trying to do, whether that be languages, social skills or whatever else they are striving to achieve.
My passion for languages is partly due to my personal love of language and communication, but also due to my desire to help children gain intercultural understanding, which is so important to children growing up in today’s multicultural societies.
What was your teaching experience before joining King's InterHigh?
Having taught for some time in secondary schools, I realised that what I absolutely loved about teaching was making connections with students and enabling them to continue their journeys, whatever they may be.
How is teaching with King's InterHigh different to teaching at a bricks and mortar school?
Every student is an individual and I have found it much easier to build relationships with students at King’s InterHigh. It is possible to communicate personally with students so much more easily; students are better able to concentrate on their studies and less likely to get distracted. It is incredibly easy for students to follow a very individual study plan which reflects their own learning style, pace of learning and willingness to undertake independent study.
How does the King's InterHigh online platform enrich lessons for both you and the students?
I feel that King’s InterHigh offers a fantastic opportunity for teachers and students to communicate on an academic level. Students are able to ask personalised questions and get differentiated feedback. It also allows teachers to provide a wide range of resources for students to use, giving them the freedom to learn in a way that is individual to them.
As an online platform, do students miss out on the social aspects of learning within a mainstream schooling environment?
King’s InterHigh provides lots of opportunities to be practical. Language lessons require a lot of speaking and we use team areas where students can work together, talking to each other in person.
By exploiting some of the features of our online platform and classrooms, students are able to collaborate and discuss with their peers, using discussion groups to express their ideas or breakout rooms to collaborate on a task. For language learning, this allows students who may be nervous about speaking in a foreign language to do so in a smaller environment, amongst students of similar ability, or that they know well.
How do King's InterHigh teachers encourage outdoor activity?
It is part of the teacher’s job to encourage students to explore the world around them, this can be done through setting practical activities for them to undertake as independent learning, for example setting up a French café in their living room and filming a role play, or organising a trip to see a French film.
What is your proudest academic achievement?
My proudest moment was when living in France, after putting in a lot of time and effort, I was eventually mistaken as French on a daily basis.
Do you take part in any notable activities?
In my free time I do slalom skiing, training on an artificial slope near where we live. Although I only compete on a friendly level, it is a little embarrassing to say I am one of a small number of females competing in the under 99 category!