Science and Maths
Life before CIS
I was born and raised in North London, the son of an English father and a mother from what was then known as Yugoslavia (my grandmother was from Croatia and my grandfather was from Slovenia). My secondary school was University College School, in Hampstead. I spent many years watching and supporting Arsenal FC, but have now been living in Cambridge for 22 years and I can honestly say I look for the Cambridge United score before the Arsenal one (although, as the saying goes, you can take the boy out of Arsenal, but you can’t take the Arsenal out of the boy …).
I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an honours degree in Environmental Chemistry – one of my favourite things about the degree was that it allowed a range of side courses over the four years, including being able to study Japanese language and culture in my third year.
The first job I did after graduating was working as an assistant English teacher in Japanese state schools. I renewed the contract once and spent two years away from the UK. Although I have not yet returned, I would love to go back to visit Japan again one day …
Before completing a PGCE teaching qualification, I spent eleven years working on the river in Cambridge, 3 years of which were spent working on the punts and the rest of which were spent managing a passenger boat, organising functions and special occasions. (If you ever need someone to punt you on the Cam, then I’m your man!) After completing my teacher-training, I spent six happy years working at Edwinstree Middle School, in Buntingford, Hertfordshire.
What do you enjoy most about the subjects you teach?
Chemistry is awesome, amazing, magical, mystical, wonderful and has the wow-factor. Maths is nearly as good as Chemistry – only a gnat’s hair’s width away from being as stupendously scintillating as Chemistry. Biology and Physics come a very close third – they push Maths and Chemistry very close in many respects. For example, astronomy – the size and scale of our observable universe is just mind-boggling majestic – with neutron stars and pulsars, black holes and supernovae, as well as more tangible uses of the current technology, like artificial satellites and Global Positioning Systems.
What do you enjoy most about CIS?
I really enjoy coming to work with a smile on my face and seeing colleagues and students doing the same. I enjoy experiencing real learning opportunities and being in a good position to facilitate this happening. There is an atmosphere of positivity, creativity and passion for learning here. It is infectious and I have definitely caught the bug.
What’s special about CIS?
CIS is special in so many ways. Small class sizes allow staff and students to get to know each other really well. Having students and staff from dozens of different countries makes for a vibrant, dynamic and outward looking community. We all learn from one another’s vastly different experiences that we bring into school and into the classroom. We also benefit from having wonderful parents, supportive of their children’s education and willing to help out with the general life of the school.
Having read through some of my colleagues’ profiles, I noticeably share many of the same passions as Mr Dixon (Maths and Science again!) I also have a deep love for music-making. I don’t always find the time to practise as much as I would like to, but I still love to play the trumpet. I also enjoy singing and am a member of the music group “5-Alive” that accompanies the 5 o’clock mass every Sunday at Our Lady and The English Martyrs Church, near Parker’s Piece in Cambridge. Apart from that, my 16-year-old daughter Olivia and 13-year-old son Louis (both students at CIS) keep me busy and “on my toes”!