When you were a child what did you want to do when grown up?

When I was a child I remember that I wanted to have an animal rescue home.  I loved animals then and still do. I think if I had another career I would do the complete opposite of that well known saying, ‘Never work with animals or children’, because I actually like them both!  I would love to work in Africa with elephants too.

Another interest for me would be to find out more about music therapy.  Music can really help trigger emotional responses.  As a teacher I have been lucky enough to teach children from the tender age of two all the way to sixteen; I have loved using percussion, piano and voice with them.  More recently, while exploring different religions with Year 5, we have spent some important reflective times playing singing bowls.  Some of the children who may find it challenging to focus in other areas often surprise me with their complete determination to keep the sound going while they take their turn.

What makes you smile?

If we are talking about what makes me smile generally, then it is hard to know where to begin as life is a source of joy!  However, in the classroom it is easier to pick out specific moments.  When one of my form (Year 3) decides to ‘have a go’ at something they have never tried before, it makes me smile.  In fact, having our five learning dispositions makes teaching now so much more relevant to the real world. We need our children to be curious, to have the courage to try, to be resilient if they fail and to reflect upon their words and actions.

What piece of wisdom would you pass on to a child?

Be kind to each other.  My mother used to tell me that if we didn’t have a kind word to say, we shouldn’t say anything at all.  My father once wrote to me with a quote which I still remember: ‘Be good, sweet maid, and let those who will, be clever.’  At Vinehall we encourage the children to ‘do their best for the benefit of others’.  In lessons they are rewarded if they collaborate well with others and the younger children love the Billy Bee stickers they receive when they have worked well or helped others in a group task.

What memories do you hope your pupils will have when they have left your school?

Having taught here for many years, I love seeing ‘Vines’ return!  I think it would be truly wonderful if a past pupil remembered their friends, and some of those ‘wow’ moments that stick in your mind whether you are a teacher, parent or child at this school.  We have amazing grounds and I know that this is what some will recall: building camps, lighting fires in our outdoor learning zone and the ‘monkey bush’!  There again, I was delighted when recently, I met a couple of old pupils at Charing Cross station.  After the initial niceties, we ended up reminiscing about ‘Beaver Towers’, a book I had read to them when they were seven!  That made me smile!

Taken from Kudos Magazine March/April