Story/Interview September 19, 2019
Vicky loved science from a teenager and couldn’t wait to spend her career encouraging others to love it too! She currently teaches Year 7 through to Year 11 at King's InterHigh.
"I love the limitless opportunities pupils have to complete work in ways that suit them. Lessons can be so vibrant!"
What are your professional qualifications/accreditations?
I have a BSc in Biochemistry (Hons) from the University of Bristol and a PGCE in Secondary Science from the University of Oxford.
Why made you decide to go into teaching?
I decided to become a science teacher when I was at secondary school myself. I wasn’t very confident at primary school, however, when I started secondary school, I discovered that my science lessons really brought me out of my shell. I absolutely loved the subject and wanted to spend my career encouraging others to love it too!
What was your teaching experience before joining King's InterHigh?
I’ve taught science in a variety of schools. I started as a science teacher in a large comprehensive secondary school, and then moved to an inner-city school where I obtained some management experience. I carried out a spell as a supply teacher when my own children were tiny, working with every age group and in nearly every subject!
What inspired you to make the change to teaching at an online school?
I was introduced to King’s InterHigh by a former colleague and I’ve been working here ever since. The thing I really like about teaching online is the possibility to communicate with pupils in different ways. The pupils can message me in confidence a direct question without feeling self-conscious in front of a class.
How is teaching with King's InterHigh different to teaching at a bricks and mortar school?
Often pupils ask me questions I’ve never thought about before, and whilst this used to happen from time to time in a physical school, it is an inherent part of every lesson for me at King’s InterHigh.
Sometimes I don’t know the answer and we research it as a group there and then. I learn something new which is both humbling and an excellent message to the pupils about life-long learning.
I’ve also been amazed by the misconceptions revealed to me because the pupils can privately message me – it brings to light so much more about the way pupils think!
How does the King's InterHigh online platform enrich lessons for both you and the students?
I love the limitless opportunities pupils have to complete work in ways that suit them. They are simply amazing at using technology to demonstrate their ideas and often go about submitting work in really creative ways, such as making a video or producing a web page.
One example that sticks in my mind was when a pupil wrote a rap about genetic modification and cloning, recorded it for her homework and then performed it live, accompanied by her guitar, in a lesson! Pupils bring their experiences of the world around them to science lessons and because within many classes there exists such diversity, lessons can be so vibrant.
As an online platform, do students miss out certain practical aspects of science lessons?
In science, one of the potential challenges with teaching the subject at an online school relates to completing practical work, although we try to overcome this with homework activities which encourage the pupils to make use of simple resources they have at home. It is surprising the range of science investigations which can be conducted with ordinary materials that are readily available in the average household.
We’ve held a number of STEM challenges for our key stage 3 pupils and have had some amazing projects, including working water turbines, creative packaging made using banana skins, and innovative ways of growing plants!
How do students interact with each other on group projects?
Some pupils have collaborated on STEM projects even though they live in different countries using the online learning portal, which is amazing to see.
Do you take part in any notable activities outside of the classroom?
I like to be active with my children. We’re members at a local sailing club and spend as much time as we can out on the water, sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Before I became a teacher, I worked several winters in ski resorts as a Holiday Rep and skiing became a huge passion. Every year, I head to the Alps with my family to spend a week in the mountains and I’m still absolutely mad about the sport! I’m also a member of the PTA at my son’s infant school, in charge of organising fundraising discos for two hundred Reception, Year 1, and Year 2 pupils.