Teacher Tuesday: Mrs Beth Walker
In this week’s Teacher Tuesday we meet Mrs Walker, who teaches Year 2 and is Head of Primary English.
How many years have you been teaching?
This is my 7th year of teaching since qualifying as a Primary Teacher however I have actually been in and out of the classroom since I was 15 years old. Before qualifying, I carried out work experience in a Nursery setting, several Primary Schools and several Secondary schools as I always knew I wanted to become a teacher but I did not know what age-group I wanted to specialise in. Also, I knew lots of work experience would benefit my University application.
When did you join KIS?
I joined KIS in August 2017 (so I am still quite new to the school and KK).
How would you describe the KIS community?
The KIS community has been very welcoming and kind. The parents and children are always smiling. I can guarantee that my day will be welcomed with lots of warm and friendly ‘good mornings’ shared between staff, parents and children.
Why do you teach?
I suppose I can pinpoint my desire to become a teacher on two ladies called Mrs Grey and Mrs Hammond. They were my Year Two and Year Three teachers and even now, when I see them I become star-struck. They were both truly inspiring ladies and I grew up wanting to be just like them. Teaching gives me the opportunity to inspire other little minds, be creative and get messy! What more would I want in adult life? I get the excuse to read children’s books every day and discover new authors and picture books which I thoroughly enjoy. I get to help children become writers and I hope that one day I will help mold the new Roald Dahl or J.K Rowling of our generation. I get to be arty and teach new skills such as sewing and cooking and I get to help children understand that it is okay to find things tough! As long as you persevere and have a go it will become easier.
What is your favourite classroom resource and why?
My Teaching Assistant Ms. Marilyn! Her endless happiness, commitment to the school, educational knowledge and care towards the children makes our classroom environment a much better place to grow and learn in. She also looks after me, tells me many things about my new home and bakes delicious cakes!
At KIS there is a lot of focus on encouraging students to read, why is that?
If a child cannot read then they cannot access the curriculum fully or access life outside of school fully. All daily activities require reading whether it is being able to understand a sign on the road or the ingredients on a food packet. Also, if a child cannot read then they cannot escape into all of the fantastic different worlds and realities that have been created for them. They cannot experience becoming a pirate at sea or an astronaut talking to aliens on the moon. They will never know the wonders of the magical wizarding world of Hogwarts or the wintery forest that is at the back of the wardrobe called Narnia.
We recently celebrated Roald Dahl’s birthday. Which is your favourite character from one of his books and why?
Willly Wonka. He is charismatic, smart, creative, crazy and really quite strange but most of all he owns a chocolate factory. I LOVE chocolate.
If you weren’t a teacher what job would you do and why?
Does it have to be a real job? As I am reminiscing at how amazing and important reading is I feel like I should be able to say that I would be a witch like Winnie the Witch causing mayhem casting silly spells or a Park Keeper talking to my animal friends Mr Fox and Mr Badger, rescuing silly hares out of wells.
If not, I suppose I would be a Vet. Caring for and rescuing animals is the other thing that I have always loved to do. I have been very lucky that my parents have always surrounded us with furry friends growing up and now Mr Walker lets me carry that love on by rescuing and caring for the stray animals in the countries that we travel and live in. Outside of school, I currently volunteer at the SPCAKK and find it a very rewarding and caring thing to do to relax after a busy week at KIS.
You are known for your love of animals. How many animals have you rescued in your life and how many pets do you currently have?
Since becoming an expat teacher, I have helped rescue 16 cats and kittens (I think it is 16 – it is hard to keep count!) and 2 dogs. I currently have 2 cats in my ‘full-time’ care in Kota Kinabalu (they were never meant to become ‘full-time’) called Kuma and Rusa. Kuma is actually a KIS cat and was found in the roof above the office!
As a child though, I also helped rescue animals like rabbits, shrews and toads when my naughty cats brought them home to play with.
What do you enjoy about living in KK?
Exploring Borneo and the different types of areas that it offers like the mountain, the islands and the river. I really like waking up to monkeys playing in the trees every morning and I will never tire of the beautiful sunset.