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Great Kingshill Church of England Combined School

Great Kingshill Church of England Combined School Growing together. Faith in our Future. Member of Kings Education Trust

Mrs Natalie Clarke

 

If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito.’ African Proverb

 

They say, ‘Life is a journey …,’ well mine has been more like a global off-road rally!

I spent 12 happy years being educated in a convent in South Africa, where the nuns somehow managed to contain my exuberance, and instilled a life-long quest for learning and living. After spending two years as a Foreign Exchange student on the outskirts of Chicago, I was awarded a scholarship to study Industrial Psychology at university and play rugby (not so sure the nuns approved of the latter).  After graduating, backpacking around Europe and Southern Africa, I landed my first job writing computer programs for the gold mining giant, Anglo American. The next leg on my journey was emigrating to the UK, where I found myself writing back-office computer programs for banks to interface with the global Stock Exchanges. After a short stint of living in Barcelona, I returned to the Land of Unpredictable Weather and had an epiphany! The time had come to follow the voice I had had in my head from childhood, take a drastic cut in salary and become a teacher!

 

All these adventures and experiences, I believe, have made me into the teacher I am today. I have been teaching at GKCS for 15 years and this school feels like home and family to me. I am blessed to be working with such supportive colleagues, who allow me to be my South African self. (Results from a random poll found overwhelmingly that I am: ‘passionate, loud, determined, competitive, direct, witty.’)  I guess these ‘characteristics’ might be why I have had various coordinator roles through the years, and why you will find me rallying the troops for PTA events, pushing for as many varied interhouse events as I can get away with, and representing the teachers on the Board of Governors. But surpassing all of this, my raison d'etre is the pupils. They are what keep me awake at night and wake me up in the morning looking forward to my day! I just love seeing them grasp a concept, marvel at something new, or laugh at some daft anecdote I share that might just aide their learning. I believe in treating kids with respect and making lessons fun. There is always banter, but when it’s time to work, we work. I instill in them this simple message: ‘We did not wake up this morning to be mediocre!’ At the end of every day, our success criteria should always be: Did I learn something? Did I help someone? Did I laugh till my belly hurt? If so, it was a day well spent. Simples!

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