Meet The Award Winning Teacher Travelling The World Inspiring Young Scientists

Joshua RogersJoshua Rogers in News, World
Published 08.07.19


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Kathryn Horan always loved the thought of being a teacher.

The 32 year-old enjoyed school, and had fantastic role models growing up. After studying for an English degree at university, she decided to train as a primary school teacher so that she could inspire others in the same way. Soon after completing her training, she was appointed as science lead at Fountain Primary in Leeds.

Despite her background in English, she was encouraged and supported by her tutors to accept a science position, and it was during her early training she realised it was a subject that fascinated her.

It’s odd how I got into science given my English background, and I was a bit worried at first,” she remembers.

“But there’s an awful lot of support out there from existing teachers and various organisations that can help you in the early stages of being a teacher. 

“I wouldn’t be where I am without this wider network – I’ve well and truly caught the bug and teaching is a bit of an obsession!”

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She decided to set up after school science clubs, as well as organising themed weeks and trips to enhance the learning of pupils and was thrilled to see a clear improvement in pupils’ achievement, enthusiasm and curiosity in science.

The science clubs really allow a sense of freedom when teaching,” she comments.

“We do ‘wow’ experiments and make sure the youngsters are really having fun with learning. We build biological structures with marshmallows and spaghetti and make lava lamps with oil and salt tablets and the pupils absolutely love it.

“There’s definitely a lot of scope for creativity and fun with teaching.”

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Pupils began stopping her in the corridor to talk about science, with the younger pupils even calling her ‘the Science Lady’ – a title she says she wears with pride!

For Kathryn the best parts of the job are “doing something different every day, making a difference in the lives of youngsters, and looking forward to the next day.”  

In 2015, Kathryn was awarded the Enthuse Celebration Award. “It was surreal because I was just doing my job – things like that don’t usually happen to normal people like me!”

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After winning the award, Kathryn began sharing her knowledge and experience more widely with other teachers – at conferences and in training sessions – enabling her to have an impact far beyond her own classroom.

She was later awarded the Primary Science Teacher Trust’s Science Teacher of the Year award, and in 2017 was invited to Singapore to work with teachers there to enhance science teaching and learning for youngsters.

“It was such an incredible, whirlwind experience,” she says.

“They were keen to know what they could learn and so I taught a lesson showcasing my ideas and how they could work for them.

“Being able to have an influence on teaching styles across the world was huge. When I came back someone sent me a picture of a teacher using an idea I implemented over there which was incredible to see.

“Knowing that children halfway across the world are having that lesson because of me is so rewarding – it makes everything worthwhile.”

If you’ve been inspired by Kathryn’s story and think you have what it takes to be a great teacher, the Get Into Teaching service from The Department for Education can help.

Register now for one-to-one support to help you get into teaching and make a real difference in children’s lives.

Images via Getty