Teacher Tuesday – Ms Rachel McNutt

Teacher Tuesday – Ms Rachel McNutt

This week we’ve been talking to Ms Rachel McNutt, our Head of Humanities and a Teacher of Geography. Outside of the classroom, Ms McNutt co-ordinates the popular International Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, which is a certification regarded highly by universities and employers alike.

How many years have you been teaching?
I have been teaching since 1997, so this makes this school year my 21st year in the profession.

When did you join KIS?
I joined in August 2015. This is my third year teaching here at KIS.

Use three words to describe KIS
Caring / friendly / community

Why do you teach?
I enjoy helping young people to develop into well rounded, caring and informed young adults. I find it rewarding as a Geography teacher when a student in my class suddenly understands why something is like it is; whether that’s why there are earthquakes occurring in a country they have lived in, to why they experience different temperatures in regions across the world.

What is your favourite classroom resource and why?
Mini whiteboards with their dry wipe marker pens. They can be used in so many activities, and I have found that students are more likely to contribute to a Question and Answer session if they write and hold up an answer for me to read, rather than having to say the answer. They are also great for summarizing work at the end of lessons and drawing doodles or cartoon images on them, which can be filmed and turned into a short animation on iPads.

You co-ordinate the International Duke of Edinburgh programme at KIS, what benefits do students gain from this certification?
They gain confidence from taking part in a range of activities and enhance their skills so that they are able to organize themselves and commit their time to completing the 4 sections. The Award enables young people to develop practical skills, behaviours and attitudes that are valued by employers globally.

What is the biggest challenge in the Duke of Edinburgh programme?
Here in Borneo I would say the biggest challenge for our participants is the climate and the terrain when completing the training and then the assessment for the Adventurous Journey.

With it being so hot and humid, and mountainous, it makes taking part in 6 to 8 hours of planned activities challenging. We, however, offer participant groups the opportunity to complete an Exploration rather than only an Expedition. This means that the groups can spend a proportion of their time each day of the Journey undertaking a group based project.

Can you describe a memorable experience from a Duke of Edinburgh expedition that you have participated in?
Yes – When a group of 5 Silver level participants completed their Adventurous Journey and then confidently gave their follow up presentation to a group of their peers and adult. They showed that they had come together to work as a very effective team, understanding each members’ strengths and developing their skills along the way.

What do you enjoy about living in Sabah?
I really enjoy being able to go scuba diving on some amazing reef areas off the coast, from the weekend dives in TARP to longer trips to dive off Mantanani island and more excitingly Mabul and Sipadan.

As a Geographer, travel is important to you, where do you plan to visit next and why?
Easter 2018 will see me head to the Philippines and to Luzon Island for a week. As an A level Physical Geography teacher I have taught students for many years about the volcanic eruption in 1991 of Mt Pinatubo and all of the hazards which occurred. I will be visiting the volcano and taking a trek up to the crater edge. While I’m on Luzon Island I will also go to Taal volcano, explore Manila and do some scuba diving.

Christmas 2018 I’m booked to fly to New Zealand and explore the geographical scenery of an amazingly diverse country. Flying over glaciers, visiting active geothermal hot Springs and seeing the impacts in Christchurch of the 2011 earthquake. It’s a geographer’s paradise destination!