Voices (ISL Stories)

Meet Kim

Learn more about Kim Clarke, Lower School Art Coordinator

Please introduce yourself briefly
My name is Kim Clarke. I was born in Sheffield, England. After studying at university I moved to London to follow the passion that I’d had since the age of 4, to be a teacher.
Tell us about your role at ISL
I am the coordinator of the Lower School Art Team and I teach Art to grade 3, 4 and 5 students.
How long have you been working at ISL? 
This is my ninth year.
What did you do prior to working at ISL? 
I worked in London for 16 years mainly teaching Design and Technology to 11-18 year old students. Three years after my daughter was born, my husband was offered a job working for Eurostat in Luxembourg. We decided to take the opportunity to move here and I enjoyed being a full-time mum to our daughter Freya. When she started at St George’s School for her primary education, I worked at the school running their Design and Technology programme. I also led the Luxembourg British Girl Guide unit.
What does your typical day look like? 
I start the day by catching up with the art teachers. We get all the art materials and student sketchbooks ready for the classes coming to our art studios. Every week we have a rotation of over 450 students being creative in our art studios, so good organisation of these classes is crucial. Our art assistants help ensure that everything runs smoothly in the art studios enabling us to prepare a wide range of tools, materials, experiences and displays for our young artists.
As part of the learning experience I encourage students to bring any artworks into school that they have created at home, or to share their thoughts about any exhibitions they have seen, or to talk about their favourite artists. Many classes start with one of the students volunteering to be our ‘Teacher for Two minutes’. They give a short presentation and the other young artists can ask them questions, make comments, make connections or compliment the presentation. Then it's usually straight into practical artwork, with the students developing their ideas in their sketchbooks, exploring the use of new media or techniques, reflecting on previous experimentations and finally coming up with an individual or sometimes group response to the unit of work we're investigating.
What do you love most about your work? 
I love the creativity and enthusiasm of the students. Our artists are brimming with thoughts and ideas and they always manage to come up with new and exciting interpretations of the activities that we have planned for them. I’m an avid recycler, as the rest of the art team will confirm, and I’m not good at throwing anything away! It does mean that I can always find the materials the students need to transform their ideas into reality. I enjoy being part of a dynamic art team as we all have different skills and ideas. There’s always lots to discuss and exciting ideas to explore to inspire our young artists. As an art team we promote awareness of and care for the environment and we foster this in all our art studios. It’s been exciting this year developing our new art garden, which will provide a stimulating place for our students to learn, to think about and explore nature. 
What do you think is unique about ISL? 
ISL gives students the opportunity to develop as thoughtful, curious, questioning and confident learners. The school values and celebrates the arts. Parents recognise the importance of the arts too and are very supportive of our art programme. The school is also well resourced and this enables our young artists to have an extensive range of opportunities to use different art media in our art programme. We embrace the individuality and thinking present in each of our artists. The team presents carefully thought out displays of the students’ artworks to celebrate and recognise the students’ artistic thinking, explorations and achievements.

On a daily basis, how do you contribute to making ISL the school of choice? 
I’m passionate about both art and teaching. I'm an enthusiastic and positive person and I endeavour to create an environment in my studio where the students are inspired, feel safe, are respectful, can problem solve and be creative.
I enjoy developing relationships and making connections between the students and local industry, charities, art galleries and artists. For example, my Grade 3 students carry out a Tyvek© project with Dupont, designing and making a functional item using this fabric.
This year the students have designed face masks in collaboration with the charity Friendship, which amongst other initiatives in Bangladesh funds hospital ships. Last year our Grade 4 students took part in a project leading up to an exhibition in Parc Merveilleux. They created life size painted wooden figures to highlight the 63 million children who do not have access to education.  
I enjoy getting to know and introducing our students to local artists and galleries. The Zidoun-Boussuyt art gallery in particular welcomes our students and their parents and has given us guided tours on Saturday mornings.
What are the most important skills a student should acquire today?
Open-mindedness, creative problem solving, confidence, adaptability and compassion.
How do you define the success of a student? 
A successful student enjoys learning both independently and collaboratively, thinks creatively, can problem solve, is confident, responsible and thoughtful.
What is your best memory at ISL? 
I have many wonderful memories and so it is difficult to choose the best one. I enjoy the fashion shows where all the Grade 3 students and their teachers model their artistic creations. The trips to Dupont to see manufacturing in progress are also fascinating and it’s always amazing when our young artists come up with perceptive comments and questions for the Dupont production managers. We’ve also had some excellent professional artists come into the Hillside building as part of our school-wide ‘Learning to Look’ programme. The presentation by the Luxembourg graffiti artist SUMO was particularly inspiring with students from Grades 3 to 12 all very excited to see his artworks, meet the artist in person and hear his thought-provoking talk.
Describe ISL in 5 words
Creative, Diverse, Dynamic, Inspiring and Encouraging.



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