This week our Staff Snapshot Interview is with Mrs Robinson, our multi-talented KS2 Teaching Assistant.
What inspired you to be a teacher?
Though I come from a family of teachers (all four of my brothers are teachers) I went to Art School to study Fine Art. I grew up in a place called Kimberly in South Africa, where the diamonds come from. Though it wasn't a particularly large town, because of its connections with DeBeers Mining, it had an amazing theatre, art gallery and museum where, as children, we spent a lot of time (there wasn't a lot else to do!). So I thought that becoming a museum artist/curator might be a fun career. However, this job proved elusive when I qualified and, after a couple of months, I decided to train as a textile designer, which I did for about 8 years, working for an Italian company in Cape Town. Then my husband and I moved to England. As our children started school, I started volunteering, then working, and later running play groups in London and then in Hawkhurst. I did various TA training courses and worked at a local Primary School, before starting at MHS in the Learning Support Department.
What do you love most about teaching?
The energy that children exude - the excitement you can feel when they are fired up or excited by something new or challenging and, though it has been said repeatedly, those' light bulb moments', when it all suddenly makes sense, be it in a Maths lesson, a reading group or out at Forest school, these are the rewards of this job.
What I love about my particular role is its variety - no two days are the same and you need to be adaptable, resourceful and have a sense of humour - and the friendship of colleagues! I work with some truly lovely people.
What were you like at school?
I loved school and involved myself fully in everything I did. My favourite subjects were Art and Latin (probably because they were the most inspiring teachers I had) and I did a lot of swimming. I was however, quite quiet and always terribly good and law-abiding, always wanting to do the right thing. I would quite like now to be able to tell my younger self to be a bit bolder, step out of your comfort zone, get things wrong … and not worry so much about authority. Even today my heart flutters in a nervous way when I see a traffic warden!
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have always drawn and painted and made, so I think I was always going to do something related to Art.
What’s the funniest moment you’ve had in a classroom?
I recently had a very funny conversation with a little Year 1, who asked me very earnestly if I knew what a breeze was. ‘Yes’, I replied ‘I think so, but you tell me what a breeze is’. ‘Well,’ he said thoughtfully ‘a breeze.. is a broken soul’. Oh my goodness, I was obviously dealing with a child who was on a far higher spiritual level than I would ever achieve. So I replied, ‘Well that is really beautiful, I will remember that – a breeze is broken soul!’ There was a silence, then he looked at me in complete confusion and replied ’No, Mrs Robinson, I said a BRUISE is a broken CELL, my daddy told me!’. Poor old dear - deaf as well as silly!
What’s the most important lesson you can teach?
To be kind and honest, but above all, kind. If you can do that, everything else falls into place.
What are you most excited about at Marlborough House this term/year?
The building of the new Art/DT block. I loved the old Art block which was quirky, cluttered and cosy, but a bit worn at the edges. This new block looks spacious, airy and I'm sure a very inspiring space in which the children can work and create.
What makes Marlborough House such a special place to be?
Apart from the beautiful grounds which I still marvel at each day getting to work, the sense of family amongst staff and children. We are still of a size where children across the age range know each other and one of the nicest events held recently was the walk around the grounds by the whole school, where year groups and teachers mixed, chatted and laughed while they enjoyed our lovely surroundings.
School House: Dunbar
Years at MHS: 19 years
Clubs: Junior Art Club, Face Painting Club
Unusual fact: I was born in a mission hospital in the depths of Mozambique where the only way they could estimate how much I weighed at birth was to compare me with a bag of sugar! Many bags of sugar later...
Highlight of my day: Lunch! and snack time when its cheesy Quesadillas. But joking aside, it is probably walking into the classroom first thing in the morning to be greeted by a classful of chirpy children
The book I am reading: I belong to a book group, thank goodness, which ensures that I do read at least one book a month, as most nights I fall asleep almost as soon as my head hits the pillow. This month I am reading ‘The Confession’ by Jesse Burton and a book passed on to me by my daughter, ‘Invisible Women’ by Caroline Criado Perez.
Proudest moment at MHS: Getting through a whole week without losing my staple gun, car keys, phone, spelling lists ...
Most memorable moment at MHS: Too many to choose: school trips, dressing up days, wonderful Year 3 plays with Mrs Jones… and Mr Mathers bursting into the staff room announcing the safe arrival of the Mathers twins, Hugh and Joe. And that was 18 years ago!