We talk to Rose John-Cox, Head of Maths at Hawthorns – an independent school for girls and boys aged 2 to 13 years in Beltchingley, Surrey. She tells us about her work and her own school memories
Favourite subject at school
My favourite subjects at school were definitely maths and sport. My mum taught maths early on in her career and so playing with numbers was just something we always did at home. My dad loved all sport and encouraged us to play everything. The team games, like netball, were always my favourite.
Most inspirational teacher at school
My most inspirational teacher was Mrs Mayer. She was my maths teacher during secondary school. She made the subject fun but also challenging, stretching us beyond our comfort zones. She always made us feel supported and offered continual encouragement. She made me realise how important it is for teachers to inspire and help their students develop a love of the subject.
Favourite character from a book or film
When I was young I did not really enjoy reading. A love of books only came at the age of 15, when my sister, who was a voracious reader, recommended a series of mystery books to me. From then on I have never really looked back and am now never without a book and love my monthly book club. I have a real passion for cinema and was raised on old black and white films. My favourite is probably ‘To Have and Have Not’ with Humphrey Bogart or any Hitchcock thriller.
Best school memory
My best school memory would be sports days, sitting with my friends on hot, balmy afternoons, competing in the different races, cheering our teams on and feeling exhausted but happy at the end of the day.
Is there anything you wished you had studied at school but didn’t?
I wish I had studied more languages and worked harder at them. When you travel, it is a wonderful thing to be able to talk freely with the people you meet along the way; it is a gift and changes one’s whole experience in a country.
What is your proudest achievement at your current school?
My proudest moments are when pupils who first come to class with a lack of confidence or fear of maths, leave at the end of that year with a belief that they can succeed and enjoy maths. As a teacher, if I feel I have made a difference and helped a pupil, I am happy.
What are you looking forward to this coming year?
As a relatively new head of department, I am excited about the new ideas I have and seeing them come to life, such as a variety of enrichment activities to inspire pupils with a love of maths. I would like pupils to investigate maths in nature, use maths practically in architecture workshops, see how maths affects everyday life and the world around us.
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