In this series, we are shining the spotlight on some of the wonderful staff around our school! This week, we are focussing on Dr Chatwin, who is our Head of Computing, and English teacher!
I have been, for as long as I can remember, an avid reader. So, at school, English was really the only subject I felt naturally ‘good’ at. I was always ready and keen to debate and discuss, too, and English is a subject where that willingness to explore and evaluate ideas is really helpful. When I finished my undergraduate degree in English Literature, I felt there was still so much I wanted to explore, so I ended up carrying on to do an MA and PhD in the subject.
How did your passion for computing develop?
I had always been interested in technology, and ended up, rather surprisingly, beginning my career in that field. I feel I was fortunate to grow up in an era when computers were fairly ubiquitous but still required technical knowledge and understanding to make them work; unlike today where they have become slick vehicles for the delivery of content – video; music; messages etc.
Developing that understanding in students is hugely motivating to me, as is encouraging and supporting girls to study the subject – Computer Science as a discipline and field of employment is still dominated by men.
What has been the highlight of your teaching career so far?
I am a Thirds form tutor, and generally have a Thirds form for English too; I find these roles hugely rewarding and enjoyable. I remember how significant the transition to secondary school felt, and I hope that I can help to ensure our new students feel happy and secure in this new environment.
What’s next for Digital Learning at KEHS?
It’s an exciting time for Digital Learning at KEHS. We’ve completed our transition to Microsoft, as part of a Foundation-wide project, and next year will be introducing a new student VLE which is based on the Microsoft platform. We are revamping tech in classrooms with new interactive displays, and are exploring the possibility of student devices, which we believe have the capacity to really enhance student learning – watch this space!
What did you do before you started at KEHS? How did you get into teaching?
I had an unusual pathway into teaching in many ways. I worked for a large technology company for a number of years, post my PhD, and then ended up moving to Shanghai, where I had initially planned to continue to work in the same field whilst writing a book based on my doctoral research. During my time there, I ended up doing some teaching, and then moved to Beijing to continue to teach primary and high-school aged children there. My initial plan had been to return to the UK to seek out a job in academia, but I enjoyed working with young people so much that I changed plans and got a place on a PGCE course at Bristol.
What do you enjoy doing outside of school?
I have two very small children – aged three and ten months respectively – so life is extremely busy for me at the moment. Music was a big part of my life for many years, and I still enjoy playing the guitar and piano. I am currently completing work on my third book, however, so this tends to occupy my limited free time! I love to travel and am hoping to return to China next year.
Thanks Dr Chatwin, we wish you all the best with the writing of your third book, we can’t wait to read it! Keep your eyes peeled for the next profile featured in the staff spotlight!