Being a teacher is no easy feat for anyone to accomplish, nor is it an easy career path to get into.
Beckie Bennett, Key Stage One Assistant Head at RGS Guildford Dubai, had a dream to become a teacher, turned it into reality, and has been making waves with all the students she comes across.
With 17 years of teaching experience, Beckie shares how she found her passion for teaching and makes every day at school an interesting one for children.
What inspired you to start teaching?
I have always enjoyed working and supporting young people, and from a young age, growing up in a rural village, I used to babysit regularly for our neighbours and family friends. Both my aunt and grandmother were teachers, and it just seemed like a natural progression from babysitting, to nannying to teaching. I finished my schooling and started my teaching degree at 18.
How did you decide to teach your current subject?
I enroled for an Early Years teaching degree at university, because I felt strongly about play-based learning and how learning through this method enabled so many effective teaching opportunities. The likes of Maria Montessori and Reggio Emelia and the research behind their ideas sparked my interest and led me to spend the first eight years of my teaching life working in the foundation stages, I then moved up into Key Stage One and Two taking the best practices of early years into the phases, seeing the benefits of learning through play and how their independence and love for learning somehow got lost as they got older.
Early years pupils choose how to scaffold their play through directed tasks and knowledgeable staff supporting them, but not necessarily telling them how to get there, just guiding them with suggestions and effective questioning. Taking this practice through into Key Stage One has been a mission of mine and something that I endeavour to do in my own teaching practice as well as supporting colleagues in developing their own practice.
Why do you love teaching?
No one day is ever the same, you can rely on the young people that we teach to bring a smile to your face almost every day in what they do, say and learn. Those little moments when a child suddenly can blend the sounds to read words independently, when they remember their number facts and come bounding up to tell you they have, seeing the smiles when they receive praise from you or just the daily compliments that they say as you walk past.
Do you remember your favourite teacher from school?
Vividly, as she was one of my first teachers, her name was Mrs Hughes, and she was kind, caring and bubbly. Her classroom was always filled with fun activities and games to entertain us all. She was everyone’s favourite, and to this day, my school friends and I still talk about the impact she had on us.
How do you make everyday classes more interesting?
Through ensuring you know your class well, knowing what each individual likes, dislikes, how they best learn, their strengths and their areas to develop. Then once you know this, you can develop lessons that appeal, are fun, challenging. One of my favourite things to do is to have hooks into their learning that spark excitement and mystery.
For example, one morning, the children came into my classroom to find water all over the floor, lily pads on the desks and police tape cornering off a section of the room. We had the caretaker come in and explain how he had seen some strange things the night before but had ignored them as though he was imagining things. The children had to find out clues as to what may have happened. This then led to us introducing the book Tuesday by David Weisner, by this point, they were totally engrossed in the book and the tasks provided.
What is a unique part of the school?
For me, it’s the living walls and the indoor gardens at RGS Guildford Dubai, I love the fact that we have real-life plants, trees and flowers that are growing within our central atriums, from the ground floor to the third floor. I love the greenery and the smell when they have just watered them all. It reminds me a little of being at home back in England as I grew up in the countryside surrounded by fields and plants.
What would you do if you were not a teacher?
That’s a tough one, the other profession I had considered was to be a paramedic, but I have a slight phobia of needles, so, therefore, decided that it probably wasn’t the best choice for a vocation.
Key Stage One Assistant Head
RGS Guildford Dubai