The Positive Teacher Feature: meet Kate!
We all love a truly positive professional and Oxfordshire deputy head, Kate Bodie, as a 4th generation teacher, appears - quite literally - born to teach! Let's face it, anybody with the role of 'mental health first aider' is bound to meet our seal of approval! However, even a quick look at Kate's inspirational philosophy and wealth of experience below, especially with the more vulnerable of children, indicates what a special individual she must be! The world needs more Kate Bodles! Enjoy!
Name: Kate Bodle (@mrsbteachandlearn)
I am currently Deputy Head at a small independent school in Oxfordshire having worked in the state sector previously. My role also includes being SENCO, Head of Pastoral Care and Wellbeing lead (I’m also a mental health first aider) as well as English Lead. It’s a varied role and I love it! I am also an author of a book called Developing Early Literacy Skills and I lead INSET in other schools on dyslexia friendly schools and teaching handwriting.
I work primarily with children who need extra support due to their dyslexia or other SEN needs whilst also supporting children across the school pastorally. I’m also a Year 6 form teacher which is a role I relish, watching the children take on leadership of the school and preparing for the next steps of their academic journeys. I definitely find that no day is the same which keeps me on my toes!
Why did you get into teaching?
I am a 4th generation teacher so it was very much ‘in my genes’. I was fully aware of what the job entailed including the tough bits but I never wanted to do anything else. Apparently when I was 4 or 5 I rearranged my bedroom to look like a classroom and that was clearly it, decision made! I think I was very lucky to know what I wanted to be, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to forge your path not knowing what your end goal was.
Once I started teaching I realised I was particularly interested in why some children didn’t learn in the same way as others, the motto ‘if they don’t learn the way you teach, then teach the way they learn’ really resonated it with me and has been at the forefront of my teaching practice ever since.
What are your top tips for positivity and excitement within your role?
Keep learning – keep looking for ways to improve your practice, there is always more to find out, new techniques or resources to use. I couldn’t just churn out the same lessons year on year, I love to keep it fresh and exciting for me and by doing this I can pass on that enjoyment of learning on to my students.
I also love to learn and share with others – social media is really great for that, the teaching community is so supportive and it doesn’t matter how long you have been teaching you can always pick up some great tips. I love the debate on Twitter, the visuals of Instagram and the chat on Facebook, it has opened up a much wider CPD than when I first started teaching!
Outside of your school role it’s really important to do things you love or are good for you – for me that is spending time with family and friends, dabbling in different types of crafts and exercising. It’s the only way to keep perspective and to refresh yourself.
Looking back, what advice would you give your NQT/Trainee self?
Don’t focus on what goes wrong, look at what goes right. Be positive even when you feel like everything is going pear shaped – the children won’t know what was on your ‘plan’ but they will read your mood and react accordingly!
Don’t be afraid to ‘wing it’ occasionally, some of your best lessons will happen when you do!
Keep on making your own resources – if you enjoy it and it helps you ensure that what you provide the children is absolutely what you want to use. Don’t listen to the people who tell you that its wasting your time and energy, do what you love!
What's the best thing about being a teacher?
The community – staff, parents and of course the children. I just love feeling part of something bigger than just me and I’m fortunate enough to have worked at really amazing schools in my time. Where I am now the children are truly at the heart of the school but the nurture and care also extends to the parents and staff. I am very lucky to have that and it makes going to work a joy rather than a job.
I have spent a lot of my career supporting children who find learning more of a challenge than others and seeing them succeed is the best feeling in the world. I sometimes hear from past pupils when they get great exam results, amazing apprenticeships or jobs they didn’t think possible and it is so wonderful to have been a small part of their successes however old it makes me feel when I hear from them, especially as some are now having children of their own! I can’t think of anything else I’d like to do where I would feel that way!
Would you rather sing in front of the whole school in assembly or dance at the next governors' meeting?
Hmm, I love both but I’m not particularly good at either! We don’t have governors at my school but I am one at my son’s school – I definitely couldn’t imagine their faces if I broke out some moves so I think I’d have to go with the singing in assembly and then stare at the back wall so I couldn’t see anyone wince!
Do you love teaching? If you'd like to nominate yourself or another teacher who you think deserves to be featured, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you!