Mrs Joanna Hubbard, Executive Head at Shrewsbury House School chats challenges, achievements and how she helps her students to thrive
What did you enjoy doing most at school when you were a student? Most of my time was taken up on the river as I was very involved in rowing. I learnt so many skills which have translated directly into my career: a strong work ethic, team spirit, communication skills, resilience and of course, the joy of following a passion.
Was there a teacher who particularly inspired you? I had many excellent teachers and the ones who stand out the most are those who took the time to know me as an individual. I learnt a lot from my rowing coaches too – the value of humour on cold, dark mornings went a long way to building a strong team!
How have your school days influenced the head teacher that you are today? I had very happy school days although I was quite shy as a child. My confidence grew in my teens but I remember the feeling of not wanting to be asked a question in class. I take time to notice each individual and find out who they are to help them to develop in the way that suits them best.
What do you think makes Shrewsbury House School really stand out? The sheer breadth of what is on offer is astounding. The boys are incredibly engaged and dart from fixtures to concerts, charity events and lessons with immense energy and enthusiasm. Their confidence and kindness also stands out and the staff really know the boys, supporting them to achieve their best each step of the way.
Being a head teacher is an incredibly busy job, how do you like to wind down in your spare time? Spare time is an interesting concept in the life of a Head! I love learning, so whether I’m visiting new places, reading or paddle boarding on the Thames, new adventures recharge the batteries. Family time is also important and I love any opportunity to spend time with my, now adult, children.
What’s the highlight of the school calendar for you? We have a very busy calendar and each event is special. The Y3 play, the Y8 concert, the Christmas Carol Concert or a residential trip, are all opportunities to see the boys shine and discover new aspects of themselves. The buzz and energy from our community events is very rewarding.
How have you managed to keep morale up over the last year? The whole team have worked incredibly hard to keep the boys engaged and motivated. House events, charity initiatives and humorous videos have all lifted spirits in the lockdown periods. The boys have supported each other through quizzes, newsletters and lively chats in tutor time. Our close liaison with pupils’ families has also helped everyone move forward with a positive outlook.
If you could teach anyone – present day or from history – who would you choose? I learn a great deal from those I teach, so a polymath such as Leonardo Da Vinci would be inspiring. I imagine he would be immensely challenging to teach, but great satisfaction comes from engaging and channeling the potential of a student who has diverse thinking, broad talents and an inquisitive mind.
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