Claire Jackson is Head of Year 2 at Dulwich College (Singapore) and has been with us since 2016. In this interview, she tells us about her favourite read, her journey to becoming a teacher and her five minutes of fame on TV!
Where else in the world have you lived?
I grew up in North London and lived there until the age of 18. I spent four years at Liverpool University and, after that, three years living and working in Northern France. After qualifying as a teacher and getting married, I moved to Yorkshire with my family where we spent 10 years before moving to Singapore.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to Phil who currently works in DUCKS PE. We have two daughters, Amelie in Year 7 and Lola in Year 4. I am the youngest of four children and also have four step-siblings. I am lucky to have family in the UK, France, the Middle East and here in Singapore.
What’s your favourite weekend activity in Singapore?
Weekends in Singapore still feel to me like being on holiday. I love hanging out at the pool or the beach, barbequing, eating outdoors and catching up with family and friends. I try to fit in a yoga class or two amongst all the relaxing and socialising!
Did you always want to be a teacher?
No - my mum and step-dad were teachers and when my sister went into teaching too, I was determined to do something different. However, after trying my hand at being a canoeing instructor, a personal assistant and a nanny (amongst other things), it seemed like destiny was calling me, so I finally admitted to what everyone else knew all along and went back to university to do my PGCE.
What is your favourite book and who is your favourite author?
I love travel books; both fictional and factual ones that help me to plan my next trip away! Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson is one of my favourites. His take on British culture is spot on and completely hilarious.
Tell us about a hidden talent or a top secret that no-one would know about you.
My dad was a television director and worked on many children’s tv programmes through the 80s and 90s. Whenever they were short of children to take part in shows I was drafted in as an extra. I appeared in several episodes of different television shows doing some bizarre things, including taking part in a dog obedience show (with the family Labrador who was anything but obedient) and being levitated by a magician dressed up as Garfield the cat. I did say it was bizarre…
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party, dead or alive?
This is easy – the five original members of Take That! It would have to be on the condition that they sang and danced in between courses though (and performed a full set after dinner!)
What does a typical day at the College look like for you?
I arrive at the College at around 7.30 and head straight for Ned's and the coffee machine. From that moment on, every day is different. We teach through topics, so a typical teaching day could include some elements of any subject in the curriculum. I love the fact that the children’s imagination and curiosity can unexpectedly take you in a totally different direction to where you first set out to go. As well as teaching, I also spend a fair amount of time each day co-ordinating various other things to do with the year group, from organising trips to fitting in the many exciting enrichment opportunities that come our way.
Do you have a motto or saying that really resonates with you?
My mum once told me to always remember that everything in life is a phase. No matter how hard things might seem, there is always a new phase, development or opportunity around the corner. I try to apply this in my own personal life but also professionally; just take one step at a time and see what happens. My mum is very sadly no longer with us, but her wisdom lives on.
Do you have a most memorable teacher moment?
My memorable moments are all to do with children saying or doing funny things, but none of them are appropriate to write down here!