The Open Book | Sathvinder Kaur Butcher

Welcome to a new chapter of “The Open Book”, a special column for parents and students to learn more about the individual experience and personality of the teaching staff at Dulwich International High School Zhuhai. In this new chapter, we are going to introduce:

Sathvinder Kaur Butcher

Head of Business Studies and Economics

Ms Kaur studied BA History and Law (Joint Honours), and MSc Business. After working with Nielsen International for three years, she undertook her Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Business Education. Leveraging her industrial experience and knowledge, she devotes herself in creating the love for Business, Economics and Enterprise in her students in her lessons. Before joining Dulwich Zhuhai, she worked as a Head of Department (HoD) in different schools in the UK, continously raising teaching standards and improving her departments for better academic results.

As a mother with a son, Ms Kaur enjoys spending time with her family traveling, hiking, reading and cooking. She also loves exercising in her spare time.

Why did you change your mind to become a teacher after working in the market research and insight industry for three years?

My A-Level choice was deliberate, as I had wanted to be a primary school teacher, doctor or nurse. I worked in industry for a total of four years. However, I did not find it challegning. During my time at Nielsen International I was often asked to train to new members of our team to understand coding, spreadsheets and the database we worked with. This re-ignited my interest in teaching. I set myself a target, I would retrain to be a teacher before I was 30 and I did! It truly has been the best decision I have made.


Ms Kaur with her colleagues from Nielsen International

What do you find most rewarding about being a teacher?

I love hearing from students and their achievements, about their families and their careers. I have had the pleasure to have taught the Youngest Female CEO – Annastastia V Seebohlm of Quintessensually (a luxury lifestyle management service provider). I feel very proud that I have had an input in their lives as a teacher or as their tutor. And currently, the most rewarding element would be teaching internationally in China where I can further improve my teaching practice.

What are the most significant differences between the students at Dulwich Zhuhai and those in your previous schools?

The students at Dulwich Zhuhai are amazingly hard working and determined. Their focus and desire to succeed is incredible. The schools I have often taught in the UK have been very different. My last school was an inner city boys school. The boys were from very diverse backgrounds – some were motivated others not so much.

What research are you currently pursuing regarding teaching pedagogy?

I am currently completing a National Professional Qualifications for Senior Leaders (NPQSL). The research I am undertaking to support my further study is an assignment set by the Department for Education, UK (DfE) to reduce variation in pupil progress and attainment. I was trained using Social Constructivism pedagogy. Developing a positive classroom climate is paramount to my practice as I believe that the teacher-student relationship can assist or hinder the progress students make. Intertwining this with Student Learner Agency, has meant that the students are engaging in both the learner and assessment process.

How is this research affecting your in-class pedagogy?

This research means I am dedicating time in my lessons to ensure students are able to understand their strengths and weaknesses. I assist them in developing an understanding of how examiners assess their work. In addition to this I encourage the students to engage in learning conversations with me to ensure that they appreciate why they may not understand the content or are not answering the question. This research is also, developing my skills of teaching English language through Business and Economics.

Most of our students have not been engaged in many economics or business topics before joining Dulwich Zhuhai. What do you find would be the major difficulties for them as a Y10 student?

The language we use is technical and formal. Students not only have to understand the English, but they have to understand how one word can mean 3 different things depending on the context and the subject it is used in. 

Furthermore, the students find it difficult as they need to be listening to the news and current affairs to increase their knowledge of what is happening in Zhuhai or China and then the rest of the world.

What advice would you give to students to succeed in your subject?

To benefit from Business and Economics, you must enjoy the application of the subject to real life situations. 

Business and Economics are dynamic subjects – no two days are the same in this environment. When teaching about entrepreneurs, as students you must preserve and become resilient. Also listen to or read the news in English!

We know that you are from a big family. How many family members do you have?

I have a lots of cousins! 

My dad was from a family of eight brothers and sisters and they lived in Kenya and Uganda before moving to the UK. My mums side is from and based in Punjab, India where I have 10 cousins. One of them was a National Cricket Player for the Punjab Ladies Cricket Team, and she now runs a Cricket Academy.


In addition to Business and Economics, what other subjects are you good at?

I love History and Biology, and these are subjects I am good at too.

I studied A-Level Biology and since then have been fascinated by how the muscles and different parts of the human body work.Recently I had surgery for an Achilles Tendon Rupture and it led me to research the functions of the Achilles. Did you know it is one of the biggest muscles in the body and it controls the weight we can put on the ball of our foot and the push off mechanicism? Yet when the Achilles ruptures the pain is located in the heel as it is attached to calcaneus bone in the heel.

At school I had the BEST History teacher and it is one of the reasons I studied History at University. My dissertation was about the Rise of Afrikaner Nationalism and Segregation Law in South Africa. The social, political and economic impacts of the different policies provided me with an understanding of the major historical events of this country.

What is the most interesting place that you have ever been to?

The Pyramids of Giza, Cairo.

As walking around the pyramids, I questioned how those stones were cut by the stone masons and aligned perfectly. From an architectural point of view they are fascinating – but it is beautiful watching the sun set behind the Sphinx. The history and reasons why the pyramids were constructed is amazing, as the Egyptians had a lot of customs for their dead. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo was full of mummies mummy’s and sarcophagi (stone coffins) and captured Egypt’s history and culture.