Maths teacher Kiran Kaur Gill is using the sport of hockey to help build pupils' confidence on the pitch and in the classroom.
Despite having no interest in sport growing up, Gill decided to one day tag along to watch one of her sister's hockey matches, which turned out to be a decision that would change her life by sparking a passion for the game after being asked to play due to a lack of players.
Now a maths teacher, she is hoping to inspire the next generation of hockey players through after school clubs and has even brought in coaches from her own club, the Barford Tigers, to help train the students.
Improving confidence and belief in yourself is also something that is important when it comes to the subject she teaches. Maths is a subject that many students fear before even trying, says Gill.
"The attitude towards it can be quite negative, especially among the girls. I think girls tend to be perfectionists, which might be because of how they were brought up, or that they got complimented when things looked nice, or were perfect. So I really try to create a safe environment for them to try and to not know the answer. I put an emphasis on things not being perfect," she said, speaking to The Guardian.
Many of the students at the school Gills works at come from disadvantaged backgrounds. About half are eligible for free school meals and 60 per cent for the pupil premium.
She feels that one of the best things about launching the hockey club at the school has been watching the students come together: “They’re all from different year groups, friendship groups and abilities, and normally wouldn’t have anything to do with each other. But they give each other a chance.”
Asked whether her hockey playing had influenced her maths teaching, she paused before saying: “You’re only as strong as your weakest player, so never give up on the weakest students.
“It sounds corny, but we believe in each other,” she added.
Author: Jake Wilkin