Stephen Kaye is head of physics at Dulwich College Beijing. The UK native has been in Beijing eight years and shares more about himself with beijingkids.
What brought you to Beijing?
I met my wife whilst studying to be a teacher back in the UK. My wife, from Beijing, was there studying for a masters in human resources. We were together in the UK for a number of years until a point when homesickness got too much for her and she decided to come back to Beijing. Rather than face breaking up with her, I proposed to her and, as they say, the rest is history.
When I arrived Beijing I did not immediately work at Dulwich. I applied to teach at Dulwich every year for three years until I, finally, was accepted. Third time was lucky! I really wanted to teach in a school that is based on the British educational system, just like I had initially trained to do.
What was your favorite subject when you were a student?
Obviously physics! I studied all the three sciences at A-level when I was in school and have always been good at science. I also really loved chemistry but was terrible at it! I still like chemistry but I just can’t get my head around it. The more methodical and mathematical nature of physics really lends itself much better to my way of thinking.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? What other career options did you explore before teaching?
I went to university knowing I would do a degree in physics and also knew for a long time that I would become a teacher. I did many voluntary programs in the UK when I was in high school whereby I would be a teaching assistant in primary schools. Even from when I was 17 I knew I wanted to be a teacher, I really enjoyed working in schools and knew that it was the right thing for me.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I think that the most important thing is that I have a love and a passion for my subject that is really infectious. As a result, the students are interested and also gain a love for the subject. Since being at Dulwich College Beijing, I have seen the number of physics students swell, year after year, to become the most popular of the experimental sciences at an IB level of study.
What was your favorite book growing up? What are you currently reading? My favorite book was Surely you’re joking, Mr Feynmann. This book by the nobel prize winning physicist Richard P. Feynmann is a hilarious series of tales from his varied and fantastic life. It was a marvelous book and made him my favorite physicist.
I’m currently reading some books about research methods in education for some action research projects that I have going on at school. This is in between classic children books such as What the Ladybird Heard, Matilda’s Cat and Olivia that I’m reading to my 2-year old daughter.
How do you like to relax on the weekends?
I relax by spending a lot of time with my daughter. During the week I don’t get much time to play with her so I catch up with that during the weekend. We go places like the park, the baby gym, and just hang around the house for a rest.
Where do you like to go on holiday?
I normally go back to my home town during the holidays, especially at Christmas time. During the summer, we normally just hang around Beijing. It’s been like this since my daughter was really small – hopefully now that she is bigger we may be able to go to more exotic places.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I love to play Dungeons and Dragons – a lot! I have played for years and years. I haven’t found many people or places in Beijing that organize games.
What’s currently on your playlist?
I think it’s actually a playlist of the UK top 40 songs from the last couple of weeks or so. I like to keep up on the current music trends!
Anything else you would like to share?
In addition to the physics teaching that I do I also organize a large group of students to record and broadcast live via the Internet for nearly all of the events we have at Dulwich. The students in this media group do it for many different reasons. To name a couple, some are artistic types who are interested in the experience of film production and some are technical types who use this activity solely as a creative output for them that they wouldn’t normally be able to express through traditional art mediums. It’s really rewarding to see a diverse range of students, of all ages and nationalities come together to work so closely with each other as a team to professionally produce these broadcasts. But the most rewarding aspect is the sheer dedication and commitment that these students give to this long-term project. Week after week, at late nights and weekends, these students come and give their all into each and every production.
Meet the Teacher is a new beijingkids blog series designed to help the Beijing community learn more about international school teachers. If your school would like to participate in the series, please email the school editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Courtesy of Dulwich College Beijing