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Catching up with... Katherine Metcalf

We catch up with Yorkshire-based Katherine Metcalf, an early years teacher who is currently taking a career break to care for her four children.

Katherine MetcalfWhen were you at Kingston and what degree did you do?

I studied for a PGCE in Early Years, graduating in 1994.

Why did you choose Kingston?

I'm from Cumbria, and I'd taken a degree in fine art in Yorkshire, but I'd always said that if I did any further study, I'd do it in London. Coming from the North, I felt I needed to spend some time down South in the capital. At that time a lot of the courses on offer at other institutions in London concentrated on teaching children aged five and over, and I liked the fact that Kingston focused on early years, from age three. But I was so busy that I didn't see much of London!

Sum up your memories of your time at Kingston in two or three words.

Hard work!

Have you been back since graduation? If so when and what for?

Yes. I met my future husband just before graduating, and his parents lived locally, so I did pop in from time to time, and I've kept in touch with one person who was on my course. By coincidence, my husband is a Kingston University graduate too, though he'd left and started work by the time I met him.

What did you expect to do after graduating? Are you still doing that now?

I didn't have any firm career path in mind. All I knew was that I wanted to teach, and to be in a school environment, and that's what I did. I hadn't expected to take a career break, but when my daughter came along 11 years ago, it felt like the right thing to do. At the time, I was working in a school as a Key Stage 1 co-ordinator, so I'd started on the management ladder. Today, I have four children, and I'm now reaching the point where I'm thinking about routes back into work.

What's your greatest achievement?

Before I had children, I'd say being brave enough to go to Vienna as a 21-year-old, by myself, unable to speak German, and getting myself a job there. Back then it wasn't as easy to work in Europe as it is now – you needed work permits. Now, I'd say my greatest achievement is being proud of the fact my children are growing up to be sensible and responsible. I know many factors influence children's behaviour but the way they are brought up is the main one.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Listen to your mother! My mother gave me some terrific advice when I was 18. She told me it was the last time I'd get to do exactly what I wanted to do, so I should do it. That's why I did a fine art degree initially, because I wanted to.

What last made you laugh?

One of my three-year-old's utterances. I can't actually remember what it was, but they're all classics!

What's your ideal weekend?

Spending it with my family, but not being in charge – so I'm not organising things, or cooking, I'm just sitting back and relaxing. And having some time on my own too.

Tell us something we would never guess about you.

I can do the splits.

You are to live out your final days on a desert island…

Who would you take with you any why? My family. I couldn't pick anyone out, they'd all have to come.

What book would you take and why? I've given this a lot of thought and it would have the be the Bible. There's so much in it, and you could read, and re-read it, and discover different meanings. If I took a novel and kept reading it over and over again I'd get bored and fed up.

What food item would you take and why? That's easy. Chocolate.

What movie would you take and why? Pride and Prejudice. I don't mind which one – it can be Colin Firth or the Keira Knightly one. It would be good to have some romance, and it's my favourite novel, although I'd have my husband there with me, so I'd have a hunky man!

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