Snapshot Interview with Madame De haan

Did you know that Madame De Haan, our Head of Modern Foreign Languages, is also a translator and interpreter for Kent Police ..........?

What inspired you to be a teacher?

I have vivid memories of my Year 8 English teacher at school in France. She was called Mrs Bates and she was a native speaker. I loved her lessons because she made us speak English all the time. She was strict and a bit scary, but she inspired us and taught us so well! My passion for languages started then. Teaching became a way to use my languages and travel around the world.

Tell us about your path into teaching:

I have been teaching French and Spanish up to A level for 24 years, but I did a few things before teaching such as picking up grapes in France (it strengthens your back I can tell you!) and selling perfume and make-up (I loved that job, it was so girly and fun).

I studied in France, the USA, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK. I have two MAs, one in English and one in International Liaison and Communication so as well as being a teacher, I am a translator and interpreter for Kent Police and HM Courts. I remember being 7 months pregnant with my daughter Fleur and doing some interpreting in a cell at Folkestone Police Station, that was quite an experience...

What do you love most about teaching?

It has to be the human aspect of teaching that I love most; the rapport you build with pupils and colleagues alike is very rewarding. Obviously, passing on my love for learning and knowledge of languages is what motivates me.

What were you like at school?

I did my schooling in France and my teachers were strict. I loved going to school though because I was curious and a good learner, always aiming to be top of the class, I suppose I was what you call “a nerd” but I was a cheeky one because I could be a real chatterbox at times. My favourite subjects were Languages, History & Geography. I also enjoyed learning how to play the guitar outside of school, so I could make new experiences with a different network of friends. I performed several times a year and that helped me build my confidence to stand up in front of people.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an explorer and travel the world, spend time in Botswana and Chile in particular.

What’s the funniest moment you’ve had in a classroom?

When some of my pupils try to sing...

What’s the most important lesson you can teach?

Respect others and they will respect you but also always question yourself in order to improve.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

If my pupils smile and say “bonjour” when they come in my classroom or when they see me in the playground, then I am happy.

Getting my French and Spanish A level students to achieve top grades and then stay in touch with them, that is priceless to me. The connection does not have to stop when pupils leave school.

What are you most excited about at Marlborough House this term?

I am teaching Year 5 again this term and that is very exciting. Also, the pool has re-opened and I cannot wait to use it!

What makes Marlborough House such a special place to be?

Everyone knows everyone and supports each other. The MHS community is very good at making people feel valued by giving them responsibilities, making them feel like they matter or simply by looking after them. The feeling of being part of a family is very strong here.

Quick-fire questions:

School House: Awdry

Years at MHS: 6

Club: School Magazine Club

Unusual fact: I am a trainee goalkeeper for my local football club

Highlight of my day: Being greeted by my happy dog every night when I come home

The book I am reading: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel, intriguing but a bit depressing too.

Most memorable moment at MHS: A slightly chaotic Year 3 French picnic when pupils were pretending to sell ice creams to their parents, it was fantastic - but it was incredibly busy and so hot that the ice creams were melting!!

Tagged  Prep  Pre-Prep