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Catherine Claasen
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Teacher Bedales Pre-prep Dunannie
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Westminster Hospital, London

I worked as an In-Patient receptionist for about a year. During this time I volunteered to work with hearing impaired students and we produced the first hearing and hearing-impaired musicals in London, including Bernstein's West Side Story.

Headley the Holme Junior School, Hampshire

I decided to take a post-grad teaching training course and this was my first teaching job. I taught Year 3 and 4 ( 7-9 year olds ). I was very naive and thought I could do anything - I used up the whole year's stock of wool and thread on one sculpture project, and splashed paint over the classroom walls. The headteacher was gentle and guided me well!
I taught here for three years.

Sun Hill Junior School, Alresford Hampshire

Taking advantage of a redundancy, I moved schools to gain more experience in a different school. This school was larger and I took on more responsibilities.

Hagley Farm School and Environment Centre, Tasmania, Australia

I decided to take a teaching exchange and chose to go to Tasmania for a year. This school was very large and children were bussed in from a wide area. There was a farm on site.
I was particularly interested in how little environmental issues impacted on the teaching here, perhaps due to the sensitive logging and damming history in Tasmania.
I did work on a project based on John Bermingham's "Oi get Off our train!" with my Grade 2 students.
I talked to the education department at Hobart University about teaching resources being developed by Hampshire Education.
I spent as much time as possible driving around and visiting remote areas where the roads just fizzle out, temperate rainforest and trying to see as much of the amazing wildlife as possible.

Bishops Waltham Infant School

After another year back in the UK I decided to change schools again. A Hampshire Inspector advised me to let the interview body decide whether I was qualified for a change of age range, rather than hesitating. She said I would be moving up to Infants. It was good advice. Early Years Education is fascinating. The rate of children's learning is so interesting.
I taught Year2 here for three years. I was Acting Deputy Head for a while. I liaised with other agencies to develop the school grounds. This was invaluable experience as I attended meetings in Winchester, drew up plans and learned how to manage larger projects.

Career Break

I took ten years out to start my family life.
During this time I was a school governor and qualified as a child-minder.

Bedales Pre-Prep Dunannie

Back to work after a Returning to Teaching course. Although not essential, this was useful to observe and listen to teachers in the classroom again.
At my current school I have taught part-time and full-time, in Reception, Years 1, 2 and 3.

Bedales Pre-prep Dunannie

Class teacher and coordinator for PRE - Philosophy and Religious Education, Science and PSHE - Personal, Social and health Education, and Wellbeing.
Staff Liaison Group representative.

My favourite job is talking to children.
I also love making things. I run afterschool clubs in Modelmaking - we have lots of fun creating, constructing, building, problem-solving.

My Education
MA in Education
Open University
BA (Hons) in English and Drama
King Alfred's College, University of Southampton
Chapman College, California, USA
English Literature, History, Music
Farnborough VI Form College, Hampshire

I liked performing in drama productions - plays and musicals.
I thought the college management had issues with treating us as students and not schoolchildren.

More about me

Communication Skills - listening, questioning, talking


Being passionate about learning

I have always tried to seek out interesting people, mentors.
I have tried to take as many opportunities as possible.
It is easy to get stuck inside the classroom or school, and forget there's a world outside.

I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do when I left school.
At school I loved reading, writing essays and learning. When I was ten years old a teaching student brought in an early computer on a huge trolley. I was selected to be in a group for a week to work with him. We learned binary and very basic computing. I loved it.
My teachers at school gave me a strong sense of confidence in my academic abilities. But less so on a personal level. My teaching today is about empowering children and enriching them as individuals. Then there are no limits to potential.

Be open-minded. Teachers influenced my choices and I went down an English and Art route. If I started out again I would have tried to focus on a wider range of subjects.
In my job I constantly try to open children's eyes and minds to scientific and technological possibilities.

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