Spotlight on: Mr Dewhirst, Head of Geography and Year 4 Form Tutor
Mr Dewhirst, Head of Geography is the first teacher to take part in our “Spotlight on…” interview series. The series provides an insight into Hallfield’s incredible teaching staff, so you can get to know them a bit better, from how they got into teaching, to what their interests are and why they love Hallfield.
19 November 2021
When did you join Hallfield?
I joined Hallfield in January 2021. It was an eye opening experience because my first day was the morning after the prime minister announced the UK lockdown, so I taught my class for the first time over Zoom. I have such fond memories of 4GW online. They worked so hard and we created so many memories that I will always remember.
Where were you before you joined Hallfield?
Before Hallfield I have spent most of my career working in boarding schools. I was Head of Junior Boarding at Ashville College in Harrogate and Head of Boarding at Swanbourne House in Buckinghamshire.
My family and I relocated to Worcester where I worked at Kings Hawford School and Winterfold House for two years before joining Hallfield.
What made you want to become a teacher?
I completed a degree in Sport and Journalism at Leeds University. I loved the degree and had visions of being the next Desmond Lynam or John Motson. I dreamt of watching sport every day and reporting/commenting on it. In reality, I had to go to the Otley Village Council meetings and write minutes.
My sister was a teacher at Bishops Stortford College and invited me to work at her school teaching sport for a year. This is where I fell in love with the Boarding world and teaching, with my passion progressing into the classroom. I love working with children and being a form tutor! Getting to know the children and seeing them progress is the most enjoyable and rewarding part of my job. I love to give them the tools to succeed. A happy classroom normally means happy children who want to learn.
What’s your favourite topic to teach and why?
I love everything about the natural world. I especially enjoy teaching about the natural world which covers many Geography topics, including rivers, weather, mountains and volcanoes. I have a love of clouds – sad but true! Climate change is something I feel passionate about and ensuring the children understand how they can make a difference.
How does geography enhance a child’s curriculum/development?
Geography is central to everything we do! It’s important to make these connections so that we look after our planet. Climate change is a huge problem, and children need to understand what’s going on and how they can slow it down. I believe Geography is vital to a child’s curriculum and development in our global world.
What careers would geography be useful for?
I believe a lot of future careers don’t currently exist. There are so many diverse jobs being invented because of what we are doing to the planet, for example around sustainability. Some of the jobs that the children will take up still haven’t been thought of.
What does an average day at Hallfield look like for you?
I travel to work with Mr Moffat and Mr Somers on most days. We carpool – doing our bit to save the planet!
At 7:30 I set up the classroom before welcoming the pupils at 8:30 with a fist bump or pretend hug – this gesture sets a positive and upbeat tone for the day!
Following assembly, I believe it’s important to give children a chance to get ready for the day; hand in homework and have a chat about anything on their mind. This encourages them to talk openly and in doing so support their mental health – a topic I think is critical to discuss early on in life.
Most days involve English, Maths, some Sport and Geography. We always end the day with a story which could be a picture book or a novel. Books and reading aloud are something I am very passionate about.
What do you love most about Hallfield?
The staff are wonderful, everybody is so welcoming, supportive and friendly. I love the school dinners too!
Hallfield provides many opportunities for the pupils – academic, sports, music, drama the list is endless. The school strives to produce well-rounded children encouraging them to find something that they’re good at and enjoy!
What hobbies/interests do you have outside of school?
Cricket, reading, walking, watching Newcastle United, Geocaching (a type of treasure hunt).
If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would that be?
- Be honest
- Be hardworking
- Be kind
- Be respectful
- Be a sponge (absorb information)
You can follow Mr Dewhirst on Twitter for regular updates on what he’s up to at Hallfield.
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