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Blistered but not Broken, Krista Cartlidge hiked the Haute Route

3 September 2014: posted by BigChange

We were joined by Krista Cartlidge,  a geography teacher at Burlington Danes Academy from the ARK Schools, one of our partner projects, to hike across the Haute Route. By day 3, Krista was suffering with some terrible blisters, and was medically forced to take a day of rest on day 4. She bravely continued the walk through the rocky terrain in flip flops, not letting anything deter her. We had a chat with Krista about her work and her experience on the Virgin STRIVE Challenge and the importance of the Life Skills that Big Change is helping to promote in the UK.

“I have been teaching for six years and I currently teach at Burlington Danes Academy.. Just a few years ago, the school had a reputation for being one of the worst in London. Now, thanks to the help of dedicated and passionate teachers, more students than ever are continuing on to University. Last year, I taught a classroom of 60 students with a 7% pass rate at Christmas. By the end of the year, 87% of the students passed.

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A key part of our success is listening to our students. I treat them like real people who need an opportunity to learn and develop and through this process, I have seen some unbelievable transformations. In my view it is really important to model the behavior you want to see in your students: if you want your students to treat you with respect, treat them with respect, first.

In my view it is really important to model the behavior you want to see in your students: if you want your students to treat you with respect, treat them with respect, first.

My time hiking on the Haute Route was everything I was hoping for and more. The beautiful landscape coupled with the fantastic group of people got me through the hard times. What surprised me though was the unbelievable display of empathy on the trip – there was so much support, caring and kindness towards any participants that were struggling. That empathy and caring extends far beyond the Challenge –and is something we could see is part of Big Change’s ethos.

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The biggest thing to take away for my students and for any young people in the UK going through hard times: there are people who want to help you and to give you choices. When a fantastic opportunity arises – just say yes! When you stay focused on the positive, the negatives will always seem less important.”

When a fantastic opportunity arises – just say yes! When you stay focused on the positive, the negatives will always seem less important.

You can find out more on Burlington Danes Academy via their website: http://burlingtondanes.org/