16 May, 2023

Empowering Students to Succeed: Meet Dover Court Teacher Laura Vertigans

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Passionate about creating global citizens and helping children to achieve their fullest potential are core characteristics of Dover Court Year 6 teacher, Ms Laura Vertigans.

We sat down to learn about her teaching career and her childhood which was defined by a dedication to sports. She also shared how she went on to represent England at the Commonwealth Youth Games and participated in the London Olympic Trials for swimming in 2012. 

Read more to find out about her teaching journey, tips for transitioning into Secondary school and experience as a student-athlete.

Tell us a bit about your background, teaching career, and what led you to Dover Court.

I am originally from the United Kingdom (UK), but left at the age of four to move to the Middle East with my family. Like many of our students here at Dover Court, I lived in many different countries as a child, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Dubai. I was fortunate to attend diverse international schools, so I’m able to bring those experiences into my teaching.

I returned to the UK when I was 16 to attend boarding school in Devon on a sporting scholarship and after, attended Loughborough University for my Undergraduate degree. Upon graduating, I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at the University of Exeter, specialising in Humanities. I taught in the UK for four years, both in Bristol and Somerset, before embarking on my international teaching career and moving to Malaysia and then eventually, Singapore.


How would you describe your life as a third-culture kid?

I have always enjoyed being a third-culture kid! I thrived learning about different cultures and making connections with different groups of people. I have always been ambitious and adventurous growing up and have enjoyed the risks and challenges that come from new experiences. I am so happy that the friends I’ve made across my different international schools still keep in touch to this day!


How would you describe teaching a Year 6 class?

I love teaching Year 6! The students are what make each day memorable. They are passionate, inquisitive and show creativity and resilience which makes learning much more engaging and fun. I enjoy teaching a range of different subjects; Maths, Project Work and English in particular, and I like to inspire and motivate my students to achieve their very best and think outside-the-box.


What are you doing in the classroom now to help the students prepare for the next stage of education?

We have been working exceptionally hard, both academically and socially. Key skills such as organisation, time management and resilience are given special emphasis to ensure the students have a smooth transition into Year 7. We are also exploring how they can beknowledgeable about the wider world and apply that knowledge in context. This will support them as they move into more complex topics in secondary school.


Can you share any tips for students who are transitioning into Secondary school?

The transition into secondary school is a fantastic opportunity. With my class, we have been discussing the importance of having a positive growth mindset. A growth mindset will help them embrace challenges as learning opportunities. Coupled with the key skills mentioned before, my students will be able to challenge themselves to the best of their abilities and meet the expectations of secondary school.


Were you always into sports growing up? Was it something you did with your family a lot?

My family has always been sporty as my parents played both hockey, football and rugby. My younger sister and I are quite competitive as siblings too, having both participated in swimming growing up. My grandmother was also a swimmer. We have always taken part in national and international competitions growing up and like to go on adventurous holidays, quite often involving sports.


Which event did you race at the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011?

I represented England at the Commonwealth Youth Games when I was 17 years old in swimming. I swam the 50m butterfly, freestyle and represented in both the 4x100m freestyle and individual medley relay.


You competed in the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011 and the London Olympic Trials in 2012 in Swimming. How was it like?

I enjoyed every minute of my experiences at both the Commonwealth Youths and Olympic Trials. I had moved back to the UK at the age of 16 on a sporting scholarships, suddenly increasing my thrice weekly training sessions to 12 overall, excluding circuit and weights training. It was an honour to attend the Games, meet Prince Edward and compete with the very best of Great Britain at the Olympic Trials alongside my younger sister.


Besides sports, what are your other hobbies?

My family and I are very active. I am also a keen traveller and explorer and love to travel around the world. Recently, I returned from a trip in Indonesia where I hiked two volcanoes in two days and shared this with my class, who have told me they would like to try it when they are a bit older themselves. In addition, I love reading and trying different cuisines from around the world.


What is your secret talent?

A difficult question! Apparently, I have a talent for mimicking accents, given that I have friends around the world and have known many for over twenty years, it's hard not to after a while!


Dover Court International School’s academic team of teachers is specifically selected for their alignment with Dover Court’s values and commitment to creating paths to success for all students. Learn more here.