Download PDF

Clare Downer

Primary teacher

  • Waiheke Island  Auckland
  • 021 1919589

Teaching Philosophy

During my time as a teacher, I moved into management and have mainly worked in areas of support and guidance for teachers and teaching assistants. I have led in a number of different ways as part of the middle management team and always take on a positive attitude to supporting staff members. I have always encouraged others to speak to me about their own practice and coach them to develop as a confident and effective teacher.  Working collaboratively and as part of a strong team is an important part of my practice and I believe that it has positive benefits to the teaching and learning in a school. I had opportunities to work closely with both teachers in my school and other schools in the Waltham Forest borough and enjoy supporting others in their own development as a teacher. My main role was raising standards of teaching in relation to clear learning intentions and success criteria for well planned lessons to ensure children were making good progress. During the support process, we would work together to analyse children's learning needs and adapt learning experiences for the children that were engaging and positive for the children. I adapt and model with teachers a strong assessment for learning focus on lessons to ensure that teachers were continuously aware of the needs and gaps of children's learning. I have also written and led in changes in policy and teaching strategies in both literacy and numeracy - mainly in Key Stage 1. I have taken a main role in making changes to how numeracy should be taught to ensure that consistency of strategies are being taught. I also played a large role in ensuring that writing was a cross curricular subject and it was being taught in a meaningful and creative way. In my teaching, I believe that children need a well rounded education that is supporting them to become confident and caring citizens. I take time with my class to get to know them as individuals and to hear about their interests and thoughts. I adopt a positive, safe and welcoming attitude in my classroom where children work together as a class. I encourage children to be thoughtful and caring towards others and to become independent in managing their own behaviour. I have a fair and firm approach to behaviour management and give clear expectations. Children in my class are aware of expectations and are given time to reflect on their own behaviour. At all schools I have taught in, I have taught alongside the school values to support the behaviour in my classes, which I encourage children to think about and adopt in their own lives both academically and socially. We take time to reflect on these values and how they impact on ourselves, our class, our school and the wider community. I am particularly interested in teaching literacy and through good quality literature, I believe children can be inspired and motivated to develop their literacy skills. I enjoy teaching in a creative, cross-curricular way, where children can explore literature in a fun and engaging way through drama, art and across other subjects. I became a lead teacher in our phonics scheme and work with my phase to raise standards in phonics teaching and increasing percentages reaching age related expectations. I have now adapted the scheme to suit the New Zealand Curriculum and am beginning to extend this through out the school.  During my time at St. Mary's, I wrote and trained staff in early numeracy calculation projects where we have ensured children have a good foundation in number and calculation. I believe in children being given opportunities to investigate processes and patterns in numeracy where they are using questioning, investigating and discussion to explore ideas. On my return to New Zealand, I worked as a teacher at Kohimarama School. I have used baseline assessments to help my plan and teach to the individual needs of the children. I believe that the enjoyment and successes in the first stages of school are vital for a young person to be motivated and happy in their education. I am a reflective teacher who is continuously developing my practice and discussing with and learning from my peers. I enjoy learning new skills that contribute to my daily practice and am always keen to take part in training to further develop my career. As a teacher, I have worked towards creating a motivating, supportive learning environment where children feel able to achieve and celebrate their successes. I believe in supporting children to have ownership of their own learning by allowing them to assess their own progress against their targets. I strive to make lessons interactive and engaging and structured in a way that meets the children's needs. I assess progress throughout lessons to ensure that children are being supported to achieve. Assessment for learning is a core part of my lessons and I incorporate a variety of ways to check understanding and progress. Children are encouraged to self and peer assess their progress throughout lessons and reflect on their own learning. I believe that relationships are key to being a teacher. I build good relationships with my class and children in my phase. In addition, I develop a close rapport with parents and caregivers and have ongoing communication with them to ensure that we are working together for the needs of their children. I regularly meet with parents to ensure that they are aware of the well being of their child and progress they are making in my class. I work closely with the school community to make sure that we are creating the best possible education for our children. As a team, we assess children's progress and attainment and plan units of work to support the learning needs of the children.

During my time at TeHuruhi Primary School, I have had the opportunity to be part of their journey in classes becoming collaborative learning environments.  I have found the change in my practice both challenging and rewarding.  I have worked in a classroom with a beginning teacher and has encouraged me to reflect on my own practice more and how best to work in an effective and positive teaching partnership.  I have become more confident in the use of assessment processes and the New Zealand Curriculum.  I have worked with my teaching partner to design a flexible curriculum for our children which enables them to progress well in all areas of their learning.

Work History

Jan 2015Present

Class teacher

Te Huruhi Primary School
  • Began teaching in a MLE classroom
  • Planning, teaching and assessing children with a second teacher
  • Class number of 44 students
Aug 2014Dec 2014

Class teacher

Kohimarama School
  • Established a New Entrant class to accommodate a growing roll
  • Planning and teaching for children and establishing routines as they start school
  • Assessing children as they enter school to plan and adapt learning experiences
Sep 2008Jul 2014

Class teacher

St. Mary's C of E Primary School
  • Taught from Reception - Year 3
Sep 2013Jul 2014

Key Stage 1 Phase Leader

St. Mary's C of E Primary School
  • Support teachers and teaching assistants across Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and 2)
  • Encourage and support a team of teachers and raise standards of teaching and learning
  • Mentor and support Newly Qualified Teachers
  • Raise standards in teaching and learning in KS1 through monitoring and support
  • Support behaviour management of children in Key Stage 1 and Early Years
  • Meet and report to the Senior Management Team about progress and teaching and learning
  • Report to school Governors about achievements towards the School Development Plan
  • Plan and timetable intervention groups for children to support and extend learning
  • Plan and organise phase and whole school events
Sep 2010Jul 2014

Outreach support

St. Mary's C of E Primary School
  • Monitor teaching and learning in schools, this includes other schools in our borough
  • Team teach and plan with teachers in particular targeted areas from monitoring
  • Train and supported Newly Qualified Teachers
Sep 2012Jul 2013

Out of Hours Learning Coordinator

St. Mary's C of E Primary School
  • Analysed whole school progress data to plan for out of hours learning opportunities
  • Planned creative and target led Saturday Achievement school for KS1
  • Timetabled intervention groups for out of hours learning
  • Ran parent workshops to encourage and promote creative writing opportunities at home
Apr 2011Jul 2011

Literacy Coordinator

St. Mary's C of E Primary School
  • Support across the school in planning and teaching Literacy
  • Working towards objectives on the School Development Plan
  • Providing training to teachers and teaching assistants 
Apr 2007Jul 2008

Class teacher

Hillyfield Primary School

Year Reception and Year 1 class teacher


Feb 2004Nov 2006

Bachelor of Teaching (Primary)

The University of Waikato