Charlotte Smith, Teacher of History
In our latest blog, Charlotte Smith, former Deputy Head and current Teacher of History, explains her unique journey with SGGS and her excitement at being back at school again this term.
Over to Charlotte …
The community focus of SGGS means that it does not take long before you feel like part of a family. This is the same regardless of whether you are a student or a member of staff. It is a wonderful school to teach and learn in and it has played a pivotal role in shaping both my life and career.
The early years
My first experience of SGGS was as a student between 1986 and 1993. But in some ways this was already the continuation of a wider journey, as my mother attended the school too, during the 1960s. The look of the school was different for her, as it was for me and no doubt will be for today’s children when they look back in years to come.
SGGS helped me towards my ambition of studying History at Oxford University, which I achieved before taking my first steps into teaching. I worked abroad at first, teaching English and developing my passion for enriching others through learning. I returned to the UK and taught at many UK schools before the opportunity arose to return to SGGS as Deputy Head in 2016.
A new journey
I thoroughly enjoyed being back at SGGS as a member of staff but after two years my career journey took a new direction. I retired from teaching to be involved in my family business, which is focused on industrial ventilation and air conditioning solutions. Fortunately, I was not required to install equipment and instead took up the role of running the office! I had a lot to learn and had to focus my time purely on this venture. Since then I have become a Director of the business and have settled into the new role. Now that new processes and procedures are well established I have a bit more time on my hands again.
I never lost the buzz for teaching and in truth, my time at SGGS had been cut shorter than I had originally envisioned. I was keen to begin teaching again on a part-time basis if a suitable opportunity, that would fit in well with my other commitments, was to arise. There was of course one place where I was thrilled to hear that a suitable role was on offer.
Third times the charm
I re-joined SGGS for the second time as a Teacher of History this term and I am absolutely thrilled at being back. I still taught GCSE and A-Level when I was Deputy Head a few years ago, but now I can focus purely on teaching duties and getting back to what made me fall in love with the profession in the first place. I feel very lucky and privileged to be part of the SGGS community once more.
Undoubtedly, the changes made to school in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been the biggest challenge to get used to, as it is unlike anything I or anyone else has had to face before. As children in my classes will pay testament to, I have never been one to have pupils sitting in rows and I have always enjoyed trying to include more physical aspects of learning in my lessons. I feel students learn best when they are active and move around, but currently, this is just not possible to do safely. Fortunately, this has not impacted the students too badly and they remain as enthusiastic and engaging as ever.
That’s not to say that we do not recognise the frustrations around current restrictions and that many students are fed-up of the coronavirus pandemic. It is only natural those feelings will sometimes carry over into school. But adults are often surprised at how adaptable children are and at SGGS especially, the girls are incredibly resilient.
I was originally set to return to SGGS on a very part time basis but I am enjoying it so much I have already agreed to do a little more. SGGS has been a part of my life since before I was born and has been instrumental to my learning, my achievements and my career successes. Nobody can say what the future may hold, but I do believe anyone who has the opportunity to work at this magnificent school should do so.
After all, I certainly keep coming back for more!