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News > Staff > Teacher Feature: Jean Dex (1984-2008)

Teacher Feature: Jean Dex (1984-2008)

We heard from Junior School Art teacher, Jean Dex about her time at the school
5 Jul 2023
Staff

How many years did you teach at Hymers College and when?

I began working at Hymers College in 1984.  Miss Licence, Miss Davidson and I were some of the first female teachers in the then all boys Junior School.

What was your role at Hymers College?

I taught Art part time there for the next 24 years, which proved to be some of the happiest and most fulfilling times in my professional career.

How have things changed since you first started?

When I first started teaching we were still based in the old Junior School building.  I was delighted to be asked to help with the design and layout of the Art room in the new Junior School building, which was a really amazing place to work in – such space!

What are your favourite memories of teaching at Hymers?

My favourite memories at the school when teaching Art were some of the big productions that we did in combination with the Music Department.  Mrs Bushby, was the amazing Music Director for these productions and the art work I created with the children reflected the stories of Yanomamo and Ocean World.  I remember counting over 1000 individual pieces of artwork that were created for one of the musicals.  Scenery for school plays, Christmas concerts and open days involved the whole school coming together to produce artwork for these events.  Some of you may remember the huge mother and baby whales suspended from the main hall ceiling.

Life in the Junior School was always such fun.  Working with exceptional staff like Mr Glenville, we were able to produce excellent work whilst still maintaining a really happy atmosphere.  There were staff pancake races, staff cricket matches vs the boys and very enjoyable school trips.  I always think if I had written myself a job description, then my job teaching Art in the Junior School at Hymers would have been it!  I loved passing on my skills to the children at Hymers and seeing them blossom.  I have often seen work that I did with the juniors, framed and still up in people’s homes and I know that some parents still have some of the painted cards that the children made for them safely stored away.

What have you done since you left Hymers College?

I retired in 2008, but was then asked to teach art at Froebel House which I did for several years.  After this I went to teach English as a volunteer to refugees and asylum seekers with an organisation based in Hull.  Around this time St. Mary’s College asked me to do some art therapy with individual pupils who had behavioural problems.  From here I went on to teach a GCSE Art class at Endeavour School which was closing.  The class had been left without an art teacher and an old friend called in a favour for me to go in and help.  Although exhausting it was perhaps the most rewarding thing I have ever done professionally with some heart-warming results.

During lockdown, my family asked me to put some art lessons online to help support them with the home schooling.  I filmed them on my phone, and with some remote technical support from my children I managed to post them on YouTube.  The lessons proved really popular not just for my grandchildren, but other friends’ grandchildren and people in the village where I live.  I ended up posting 19 separate basic art lessons, designed to use only the materials people would have already in their homes.

Some of my old pupils might remember some of the lessons, how to draw a daffodil and blossom painting to name but a few.  They have now been viewed by over 22,000 people from all over the world.  I just find it amazing.  If you would like to see them you can find them on my YouTube Channel - Jean Dex Art Lessons

I have been very fortunate to do a lot of travelling since I retired.  Some of my most memorable adventures were travelling down a tributary of the Amazon in a dugout canoe, visiting the Galapagos Islands and the amazing ruins at Machu Picchu.  These travels have proved a source of inspiration for my own artwork, which I now have on my website at www.jeandex.com.

My next adventure to come is a painting holiday in Tuscany.  I can’t wait!  

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