Christchurch teacher 'truly humbled' by award

Minister of Education Jan Tinetti presenting Clare Erasmus with the honours award. Photo: Supplied
Minister of Education Jan Tinetti presenting Clare Erasmus with the honours award. Photo: Supplied
Clare Erasmus didn’t know she was nominated and selected as a recipient of an Independent Schools of New Zealand honours award for service to teaching and learning.

So she was “truly humbled” when she was emailed about being selected.

Clare Erasmus.
Clare Erasmus.
Said the Medbury School year 3 teacher: “I saw the email when I was away at a conference, so being nominated and selected for the award was a total surprise.”

She was one of four Christchurch teachers who gained honours awards – Ginnie Thorner, St Andrew’s College, for service to performing arts, Mandy Anderson (Rangi Ruru Girls’ School) for sport and Rob Donaldson (Christ’s College) for school culture through leadership.

The honours recognise teachers and staff who develop a learning environment that will motivate and prepare students to be responsible, conscientious decision-makers and engaged change-makers.

“As an educator, we have a responsibility to create strong connections with our pupils in an environment where (they) can build their confidence, resilience, and self-esteem,” said Erasmus.

The head of social sciences at Medbury began her 30-year teaching career lecturing at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa before taking on a role at an independent school in Taiwan.

She then moved to Australia to study and teach before moving to New Zealand about 20 years ago.

Prior to joining Medbury, she taught at Cathedral Grammar for about 14 years.

“My greatest experiences have come from teaching all over the world across different cultures,” said Erasmus.

“I feel very rich in my connections to other people and I enjoy sharing my passion.”

Erasmus has written four novels – including a children’s ‘Kia Kaha’ series inspired by the aftermath of the February 22, 2011 earthquake – and publications as an educator and advocates for literacy development.

Erasmus is also involved in curriculum changes and planning activities, and is currently working towards a doctorate degree in wellbeing.

Said Erasmus: “My next goals are to power through the rest of my doctorate, and hopefully use the research to bring teacher and pupil together, and action positive changes.”

-By Sasha Watson