(Class of 2011, Bournemouth University BSc Sport Psychology & Coaching Sciences, Currently working at Queensbridge School, Birmingham, UK)
After GIS, Alumni Ross Green (Class of 2011) graduated from Bournemouth University with a BSc in Sport Psychology & Coaching Sciences. He currently works as a Humanities teacher at Queensbridge School, Birmingham and recently shared some of his experiences post-GIS, as well as his reflections of the past few months as a teacher during Covid-19 enforced lockdown.
Ross, what did you go on to do after leaving GIS?
After graduating from GIS in 2011, I spent a year out of education, focusing on developing myself as a person – through volunteering in South Africa for a couple of months, to football coaching in KL. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t waste the opportunities afforded to me through my education at GIS and I therefore took time deciding on my future.
Sport was my first passion and one of the few things that I felt confident about whilst at school. My experiences during my time at GIS therefore very much influenced my further education: I completed a 4 year degree in Sport Psychology and Coaching Sciences at Bournemouth University in the UK. This also included a year working in the academy at Southampton Football Club.
In all honesty, university was not as much of a challenge as settling into life in a new place. Home-sickness, culture shock, and the immediate sense of independence made life in the UK quite difficult for the first few years.
Since university, however, I have found my feet and my confidence again and took up a position as a teaching assistant at a school in Birmingham, with the long-term aim of completing my teacher training. As someone who always wants to help and support those around me, I succeeded in my aims and am about to start my 3rd year as a fully qualified teacher at Queensbridge School in Birmingham.
What are your reflections from the past few months?
Teaching away from the international school scene in which I grew up presents such a unique challenge. Unlike at GIS, where most pupils are fortunate enough to have laptops and tablets, many students in the school in which I work had nothing of the sort. Some didn’t have paper at home, or Microsoft Office, or even a phone, and this led to many being unable to access the same high level of content as other pupils.
Our school worked phenomenally hard though to provide these students with all we could to aid their learning, from home visits, to regular contact, to eventual laptop provision. Although it took longer than we would have liked, we feel confident that we have helped every child fulfill their right to an education.
As teachers, we adapted quickly, and although we got used to it and made the most of it, we all realised and missed the massive benefits we can have on students when in the classroom physically. Dealing with the welfare of children has been much harder; the pastoral team have had to work overtime to keep on top of pupils with challenges or whose home lives are troublesome.
For the majority of parents, I think the start of lockdown was novel- it was nice to be at home and to help their kids with their learning, but gradually, as things opened back up and people had to go back to work, this became increasingly more difficult to do. Many parents found it challenging to motivate their children after several weeks, or were dealing with family issues related to COVID, or were facing furlough or unemployment at work. As a result this put huge pressure on many parents.
For the students, I think most of them have come to recognise how much they actually love school! Perhaps not always the learning element, but more so the routine, the safety bubble, and of course the social aspect of school. I’m hopeful this will be their motivation for coming back and excelling in September.
What advice do you have for parents?
My advice to parents would be to help facilitate a love for learning and for school amongst their children, rather than just focusing purely on grades. Please remember that the whole school experience is vital, that doing after-school clubs, spending time with friends, taking risks, trying something new, and to not be afraid of failure are crucial lessons too. For me, as a teacher, all these factors are more important than the end grade. If our pupils know that, then they will develop into young adults who possess an incredible character, ready for the wide world and best placed to achieve everything we hope for them, and more.
Thank you Ross, for taking the time to share your experiences and words of wisdom with us. We are very proud of your recent achievements, and wish you all the best to you and everyone at your school.
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