Teacher Tuesday – Mr Nathan Walker
In this week’s Teacher Tuesday we speak to Mr Walker, Teacher of PE and Year 9 Form Tutor:
How many years have you been teaching?
I am currently in my 5th year of teaching, I qualified as a PE teacher just before the London 2012 Olympic Games. I have previously taught in the United Kingdom and Doha, Qatar.
When did you join KIS?
I joined KIS in August 2017.
What attracted you to joining KIS?
The fact that KIS is a developing and community-centred school situated in a beautiful part of the world. Before coming to KIS I had never been to South East Asia before and this certainly added to the attraction.
What is your favourite sport to teach and why?
Although I have coached Football & Cricket previously at a national level, I tend to find that I enjoy teaching other sports more. I love teaching sports that allow me to continue to learn, such as new and diverse sports like Tchoukball and Spikeball. However, if I was to pick a favourite it would probably be Rugby (both full contact and touch Rugby). Why? It’s a game that requires a whole host of skills; agility, speed, power, balance, anticipation, coordination, the list is endless. It is high speed, high impact and requires lots of discipline. That’s why it’s my favourite sport to teach and watch.
What is your favourite PE resource and why?
I suppose a cliché answer would be the students and it is true, they are fantastic. They are full of energy and a willingness to learn and they all bring different experiences and skill sets. However, I wouldn’t be able to live life as a PE teacher without the PE Teaching Essentials; Cones, Bibs, Whistle and Watch.
NB: I should probably also mention ‘The Pen’ that my GCSE PE class bought me. It is funny because they thought that I did not own one. I take it everywhere with me.
How would you describe your teaching style?
This is a tough question, I suppose my philosophy is based on the importance of teacher-student relationships. It’s crucial to create positive relationships with every student that you teach. I try to stay positive and enthusiastic and look to build a mutual respect with every child. I would like to think that students find my lessons fun, engaging and challenging with clear and high expectations. We learn most from people we respect and from those we have positive relationships with, so I suppose this is the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy. With regards to style, I guess that links to the teaching strategies I use. I like to use fresh ideas, new sports and activities and approaches that differ from the traditional.
What are the benefits of studying PE at IGCSE?
For me, IGCSE PE is a fascinating subject. Lessons consist of sports performances and classroom based work. It is a subject that requires physical performance as well as knowledge of theory. The students are assessed in four sports that gives them a practical grade and at the end of Y11 they take the IGCSE written exam. The theory combines elements of Science, History, Geography, Business and Maths but all related to Sport. Students study the skeleton and muscles, the heart and lungs, biomechanics of movement, health and diet, drugs in sport, sponsorship and funding, organised events and methods of training. Just to list a few topics! It is becoming a highly reputable IGCSE around the world and carries the same weight as any other GCSE. IGCSE PE is an excellent subject for any student interested in a career in Sport, Physiotherapy, Coaching, Teaching and Leadership. I know I am biased, but it’s my favourite IGCSE.
As well as teaching PE at KIS you are also a Form Tutor for Year 9, what does being a Form Tutor involve?
I thoroughly enjoy being a form tutor, it is a great opportunity to build relationships with students and it is very rewarding to support a tutor group through their lives in school. I believe a good form tutor gets to know each and every student in their tutor group. This is crucial when it comes to supporting them in their studies and decisions. I like to instill positive moral and ethical values and hope that my students can be inspired by me and by themselves. We often keep up-to-date with news from around the world and we regularly participate in fun challenges and games. This year we have also completed personal projects, class presentations and community service, with events such as our Lemonade Stall and Staff Car Wash. I get a lot of enjoyment from providing authentic experiences away from the curriculum because it helps to develop a more positive, rounded student that is ready to become a successful global citizen.
Tell us a little known fact about you:
I have previously taught KS3 Geography, History and ICT, as well as KS4 Business and Biology. I enjoyed the challenge, but I am certainly happy now that I am back teaching the subject I love.
If you could meet a Sports hero, who would you meet and why?
Now this is the toughest question yet!! I am a huge fan of Roger Federer (tennis), Chris Gayle (cricket) and Toni Kroos (football). However, if I have to pick one… I’d probably go for Pep Guardiola. I could sit for hours and talk football, pick his brains and listen to his stories. He has had a huge influence on my football coaching, particularly his approach to fluid transitions, overloading areas and his player-manager interactions. He is an inspiration to me.
KK has many outdoor activities to enjoy, what is at the top of your list?
Kota Kinabalu and Sabah have some fantastic beach resorts as well as some beautiful rivers. It’s nice to jump in the truck and head out to see the sights; the mountain, the jungle, the rivers and the beaches. My wife (Mrs. Walker) also enjoys going out and eating al fresco. KK definitely has amazing food and one of the best sunsets I have ever seen.