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#RSMFridayFastFive – Ms de Graauw

Why did you become a teacher?

I wanted to become a teacher to try and make a difference in young people’s lives. My primary school teachers inspired me to always strive to be the best version of myself and I hope that I now do that for my students.  I’m proud to say that I’m still in touch with some of these teachers today and they still continue to inspire me.


Why Upper School?

I enjoy teaching Upper School as the children are able to take more ownership and responsibility for their learning. It’s rewarding to see children make connections between previous and new knowledge and help them take that learning even further. It’s a privilege to support children with applying growth mindset strategies and have them relate these to previous experiences. I enjoy leading discussions to help individual children evaluate how they have succeeded before and guide them to put plans into place to help them reach their next goals. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the look on a child’s face when they have had to apply all of the above and have finally achieved their goal. These are special moments.


Favourite Subjects at School?

Maths and computing have always been my favourite subjects. There are so many different ways to teach the skills of both these subjects in ways that meet individual learning styles. They’re both subjects where research and guidance continue to develop which is great for lifelong learning. I’m particularly interested in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how this will shape future education. It’s exciting to know that we at RSM are already looking in to how this will affect us.

I am also fond of PE, particularly swimming. I grew up in Australia and we had a brilliant swimming program which involved lots of sessions at the local beach. These sessions inspired me to become a volunteer Surf Life Saver during my teenage years and compete in surf boat racing.


Most Memorable Teaching Moment? 

Covid lockdown was a difficult time for all of us. Having our first live form time over TEAMS was a special moment for me. I had heard individually from all my students as to how they were getting on and knew that they were all trying hard at home but was also aware that some of them felt lonely. Bringing the form together on one screen, hearing the children communicate with each other and myself made us feel more connected and bought a little bit of normality to that time. The laughs we shared- asking people to mute, turn on microphones and how patient you all were when we struggled to share our screens made this a very memorable time.


Favourite Quote?

“The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn’t that make life a story?” Yann Martel from my favourite novel, Life of Pi.

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