Clare Measures has been Head of Year 5 at Dulwich College (Singapore) for the last four years and will be Deputy Head of Junior School from next academic year. In this article, she tells us a little more about what it feels like to float in space, how she knows the sign language for Yellow Submarine and the reason she hiked up Mount Kenya.
Where else in the world have you lived?
I grew up in the UK and was lucky to live in Cornwall by the sea, Scotland in the snow, Cambridge and London. I loved teaching in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Bangkok, Thailand before four years here in Singapore.
Tell us about your family.
My parents live in Lincolnshire and my father reminds everyone of Homer Simpson. He was in the RAF and was on the first plane to the Falklands War. My sister lives near them with her family. My husband Nick is a writer and the editor of a monthly travel magazine and we have twin boys, Hector and Noah who are in Year 3.
What’s your favourite weekend activity in Singapore?
Doing something with my family. I like going to concerts and visiting art galleries and museums when they have new exhibitions on. Our go-to place is the ArtScience Museum and I have seen everything there from Pixar animations to Nobel Prize winners. My ideal weekend would involve a lie-in, an adventure and a glass of bubbles.
Did you always want to be a teacher?
No, I dreamed of being an astronaut. I went to Space Academy in America when I was 18 for three weeks and underwent simple training and several ‘missions’. To simulate weightlessness, you go underwater in a giant tank and try to mend satellites, you experience g-force in a centrifuge and then complete assignments from Mission Control or onboard the shuttle whilst carrying out EVAs (extra-vehicular activities). After my first degree, I worked in a deaf school as a Teaching Assistant and by the end of my first day, I knew I wanted to be a teacher.
What is your favourite book and who is your favourite author?
I loved a book called the ‘Good Soldier Svejk’ by Jaroslav Hasek, a dark comedy about an incompetent soldier who ends up imprisoned by his own troops. However, I also adored ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ which made me cry, a lot. ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio is my favourite at the moment - again I cried buckets, in front of my class! It is such an important book that I think every child should read it.
Tell us about a hidden talent or a top secret that no-one would know about you.
Oh! I used to be quite fluent in British Sign Language after working in the Deaf School, I can sign a mean ‘Yellow Submarine’! Also, I marched across Holland just before I left school (I received a medal and lost five toenails!), I climbed Mount Kenya (5199m) to try and get my photo in OK! Magazine and I can move my ears without touching them.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party, dead or alive?
Banksy - a street artist, David Bowie, Victoria Beckham, my Grandad and Christa McAuliffe - a teacher who was going to teach from the Challenger Space Shuttle.
What does a typical day at the College look like for you?
Busy and no two days are the same. My day is a rollercoaster of learning, meetings, a duty, fun, reminding children to tuck in, plug in and ‘aim high’, smiling, preparing, marking and an occasional handstand. Most days, I go to bed grateful for working with such enthusiastic children and an inspiring year team of passionate teachers. A typical day is awesome.
Do you have a motto or saying that really resonates with you?
Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In short - your actions are more important than words.
Do you have a most memorable teacher moment?
So many. Every class I have had has been memorable and I keep their scrapbooks in my cupboard. You can’t beat being called ‘mum’ accidentally or those lightbulb moments when a student ‘gets it’. But, my most embarrassing moment was when I was teacher training and my wraparound skirt fell to the floor - thank goodness I was wearing tights! One of my most memorable moments was arranging a science week for Year 4 children that involved a few CSI techniques to solve the crime. I arranged for the Thai police to ‘arrest’ the Headteacher, they got quite carried away, handcuffed him and led him off the campus!