Dragons Today Summer 2014.indd - page 9

Kate Kettlewell
Amongst the hum of activity of the science lab
Dragons Today
met Head of Science, Kate
Kettlewell, who spoke about the enjoyment she finds teaching young Dragon scientists.
Why did you become a teacher?
Before teaching, I spent 10 happy years as a
veterinary surgeon. It was during those years that
I discovered that one of the most enjoyable parts
of my job was explaining sometimes complex
conditions to owners who have little or no prior
understanding of the condition. Often, this
explanation was intertwined with heightened
emotions on the part of the owner and a need for
empathy by me. These are skills central to being
a good teacher and, once the seed of thought was
planted, it grew rapidly; I made the decision to
follow my instinct, a decision that I have never
regretted. I also now believe that for some people,
teaching is a part of their make-up: my mother
was a teacher, hugely supportive throughout
my veterinary training but also surprisingly
unsurprised by my announcement to her that
I was going to leave the veterinary profession
behind (“It was only a matter of time, Kate!”).
What attracted you to the Dragon?
Having been brought up in Edinburgh, I had not
heard of the Dragon until I met my husband,
Peter, an OD. Our children, Fin and Poppy came
to the Dragon too. The dynamic nature of the
school and close relationships between Dragons
past and present was a great attraction, as was the
exciting challenge of heading a highly motivated
team of scientists when considering the best ways
to inspire young learners.
What do you enjoy most about teaching
Watching and helping the pulling together of
a jigsaw of knowledge and interest that has no
corners or side pieces. My philosophy towards the
subject is that it is a way of thinking, full of ‘what
ifs’ and opportunities to think creatively about
possible answers to a given problem. The current
theories that have to be learned by children in
order to enter their senior schools can be viewed
as a frustrating time constraint or an opportunity
to open the floodgates of questioning and
investigation. My greatest enjoyment comes from
seeing the children experiencing this excitement
of discovery and starting to glimpse the endless
image that newly joined parts of the jigsaw reveal.
How do you engage the children
to be passionate about Science?
Letting my own excitement and enthusiasm loose
in the classroom plays a part in engaging the
children as does ensuring that the children’s first
experience in every lesson is something genuinely
interesting, be it an unusual image, animation,
link to the modern world, something practical
to try or a question to be answered in the lesson
that follows. Pretending to be something that is
difficult to imagine works too: I have, amongst
other things, been an ‘electron’ crawling through a
stool (the ‘resistor’) on the floor and a turgid plant
cell in the past week.
What is your favourite scientific
There are so many, but a particularly visual
model of human digestion involving mushed up
food and a single nylon stocking always yields
lots of laughs and ‘ugh!’s from the children. Not
surprisingly, it also proves highly memorable and
therefore a great way of learning.
What are your ideas for the future?
Looking to the future, there are likely to be
significant changes in teaching and learning
that centre around mobile technology and tie
in with the world at large. My experience is that
such technology enables pupils to find answers
to their questions more quickly and is therefore
a wonderful thing. But most important is that
we nurture children’s desire to learn and, present
or future, this comes down to ensuring that
teachers inspire, encourage and see every child
as scientists of the future.
D r A G O N s T O D A Y . s u m m e r 2 0 1 4
success on
a National
In recent weeks, there has been
Dragon success on the biggest
stage, with both our swim team
and athletics squad achieving
national recognition and
• Swimming: Our U11 Girls
Medley Relay team won Silver
at the English Schools National
Primary Schools Finals in
• Athletics: Wednesday 2nd
July will go down as being
one of the most successful
days in Dragon athletics for
quite some time as 18 Dragon
athletes competed in the
National Championships in
Birmingham. They made up the
largest qualifying team from the
Mercia region and embraced
the Alexander Stadium where
only a few days earlier, the UK
National Championships had
been held. Between them, they
managed to win a total of 7
medals (3 gold and 4 silver),
achieve 13 personal bests and
break 5 School Records.
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 10,11,12
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