Staff Spotlight - Jen Bowler
Introducing a new segment so we can get to know our amazing staff a little bit better. Kicking off the new series we spoke to Jen Bowler, Head of Early Years - Academic, and Reception Teacher.
How would you briefly summarise what you do?
I am firstly, before anything else... it's that love and that nurturing of the children. That's like my main passion. My main aim is to nurture these children to have loads of confidence, not even necessarily loudly, I just want them to have belief in themselves to have a go. I am really just wanting children to be the best they can be.
If you had to explain your job to little children, how would you phrase it?
I'm trying to teach them some very basic life skills, not just academically, but to be a well-rounded cute, little human.
Can you describe a few details about your favourite parts of the job?
Watching the progression of the children's ability. So from day one, when they do their first piece of writing, they write about their summer holiday or something. And the picture doesn't look great. By the time you get to the first parents' evening... the change, now they come back after Christmas and some of them are way more vocal. And it's lovely to see. So for me, seeing that change is the best part and just watching them grow.
What would you say is the most fun activity or trip or experience that you do here?
It's an oldie but goodie. The dinosaur egg.
Don't tell anyone, but now they're going to find the dinosaur egg. Yeah, in a very secret location.
The finding of an egg for these guys is insane. And then my papier-maché egg, I've made various sizes, so every so often it grows. They just lose their minds. I'm love seeing the light spark in their eyes when they find it. It's very exciting.
You have a favourite memory of working at Lingfield?
So this now is my 13th year teaching. Before that, I did my PGCE. And the year before that, I was here as a TA. I do love the family vibe that we have. People look out for each other and that's been evident from when I first started, that was always a really big pull for me working here.
I think most recently, it was the circus. We had everyone from Nursery all the way through to 6 and all the staff and it was magical for everyone.
What inspired you to work in education?
Growing up, I always wanted to either be a nurse or a teacher. As I got a bit older into my teenage years, I really wanted to go into computing, so, I did a Computer Science degree first, was a techie in London for a little while… but I still had this desire to work in schools. I went part-time with my job and did work experience in primary schools. And this job came up as a TA in reception. I thought I'd like to do that and then just feel in love with the career ever since.
Which would benefit or perk is your favourite?
Food, straight away. I think we're really lucky to get free lunch. I do love a roast day. And I also love how I can go to the dining hall and get a bacon bap in the mornings for breakfast. So I do think that we're really, really lucky with the catering.
I think the well-being weeks are really lovely. Sometimes we get the doughnuts in the staffroom or the wellbeing week and you get a little goody bag. I just think those are very lovely things.
If you have a bad day, how do turn it into a good one?
Going for a long walk is always very good to clear the mind. Sometimes I go for a walk with any colleagues that want to go for a walk around here. Sometimes I’ll just walk at home.
Are you a reader? If not, are there any hobbies you get involved with?
On holiday, I love a little rom-com kind of novel, something light and refreshing. Or I've been getting into articles on mindfulness, and adjusting your mindsets. Keeping it self positive.
I also love going to the seaside at the weekends. Even if it's raining.
My husband and I love to just go to Eastbourne. There'a nice little quirky shops down there. And even if it's raining, we just, like, put on macs and just go for a walk down the seafront, and just chill.
Do you like travelling? Do you have a destination? So what's next on your list?
I've travelled a lot but I've never been to New York.
I've also never been to Vietnam.
So maybe a city break, New York or something more. Not backpacking though, more like glamping. I went to Thailand. You can find like really rustic hotels that are beautiful and clean and safe, but kind of really rustic still at the same time.
If you could quickly and easily learn any new skill, what would you do?
I have this burning desire to play the drums. I have got a bit of a commute to and from work, my music is on the entire time. My music is up all the time. I could actually visualize it, just drumming, I want to be a drummer.
What’s the best thing that's happened to you so far this week?
One of the kids said to me, “Mrs. Bowler. I love it when we do guided reading.”
And I said,"I love that you love it!"
He then said to me, "Why do you love it?" And I said, "Because I love that you love to learn." And he was like, “...Okay.”
I'm not sure that he really felt like that, but it did make me smile.
And my mum and dad gave me my new blazer!
I’d forgotten that I'd asked for this for Christmas. My dad had ordered it for me, but forgot that he put it away in his closet.
And then found it at the weekend and went, by the way, I forgot your Christmas present.
A Christmas present that been forgotten about. That was the best thing that's happened to me this week.