Having an Impact in a Scottish Classroom
With help from Hamilton College, Kate Gwydir ’18, graduated into a teaching internship at George Watson's College (actually a high school), in Edinburgh, Scotland. She works mostly in the drama and English departments, which is a pretty great fit for someone who majored in literature and dance.
Gwydir helps out in seventh- through 10th-grade classrooms, teaching some lessons, giving feedback, and working with students who need extra support. And she teaches elective courses to 11th- and 12th-graders in contemporary America and dance. She answered some questions for us about what she’s doing.
What's the best part of the experience so far?
The Scottish accents! Kidding — though they are amazing, albeit difficult to understand at first. I really love feeling like I can have an impact on my students even though I'm only here for one school year. I've been able to help some improve their writing and essay structure as they prepare for their big exams. I've gotten others more engaged in Shakespeare, while finding meaning in the language by acting out lines. And I helped another study for an ACT exam so he could attend an American university - he got his goal score too! The school also promotes incredible enrichment trips all around UK, urban and rural areas, that I've been able to chaperone, giving me another chance to form relationships and get to know the kids as humans and not just students.
What are you doing related to dance?
I've been able to fold dance into my life in Edinburgh in a few ways (as if there was ever a chance of it not being a part of what I do). The drama department was kind enough to let me help with choreography for their school productions, and I taught a unit on simplified Laban theory, a movement technique, to work on character development through physicality with the seventh-grade classes. I teach that dance enrichment course to juniors and seniors, and I've also started an after-school dance club, which is hoping to host a student choreography showcase in the spring (fingers crossed). For my own ‘training,’ I take classes from a local studio to experiment with new styles, and I'm working on a couple of video projects with my flatmates.
What is your long-term career goal?
Ah, the question to end all questions. It's a bit up in the air right now, and I'm entertaining a slew of options: high school teacher, college professor, working in editing or publishing, arts administration, school administration... I need more time to figure out what I'm best suited to pursue, which I think means graduate school is in my future. In short, I don't have an answer, but I'm working to find it.