Jane Komorowska (nee Blanchard) Years attended Arden
Pre-School – Year 6 (1974-1982) Education
Bachelor of Arts/ Bachelor of Education (Macquarie University)
Jane Komorowska, known to her students as Mrs K, is one of our most cherished Junior School teachers. What many may not know is that Jane is also a valued member of our alumni community, having attended the Arden Junior School from Pre-School to Year 6. She is also an Arden parent; her son Nicholas is currently in Year 12 and started at Arden in Pre-School like his mum. We asked Jane some questions about her time as an Arden student and asked her to tell us about her journey to become an Arden teacher. Here are her thoughts. What are your earliest memories of Arden? Is there something you will always remember about your time at Arden?
I remember loving school, especially Pre-School. I was 2 years old when I started Pre-school (the very next day I turned 3) and I remember being so excited to start as my brother who is a year older than me was already there. At Arden I always felt like I was in a “happy little bubble”. I felt safe to grow and make mistakes. We were taught well, given respect and compassion and shown service through the actions of others. It was a caring environment where everyone knew me, and I felt valued, which is still how our current students feel today.
One of my favourite teachers was my Pre-School teacher, Mrs Neale. When I was young, I was a very quiet child and always well-behaved, until one fateful day in Mrs Neale’s Pre-School class. Another girl and I had a fantastic idea to plug up all the sinks in the Pre-School bathroom with toilet paper and turn on all the taps! When my mother was called in later that day to hear about my misadventures, Mrs Neale told her she was proud of me for finally coming out of my shell and doing something naughty for a change! Of course, I went on to be a contentious student! Describe your time at Arden in 3 words.
Warm, nurturing, and appreciated. Have you always wanted to be a teacher? Tell us a bit about your career journey.
Looking back, I feel like teaching was always meant to be my vocation, but I didn’t go into it straight from School. When I left Arden in Year 6, I went to PLC Pymble, then I did a Bachelor of Arts at Macquarie University. When I graduated, I travelled for a while and lived in the UK for two years. Not really sure what I wanted to do for a career, I decided to do a travel agent course. I worked as a travel agent for five years until I had my son Nick. I found it very stressful being a travel agent and didn’t love it. So, when Nick was three and a half, I decided to go back to Macquarie University and complete a Bachelor of Education. Even though I didn’t come to teaching until later in life I think I always knew I wanted to a teacher. It was always somewhere in the back of my mind. It was also a great career for a young mum. How did you become a teacher at Arden?
I was advised that you should always do your last teaching practicum at the School you want to work at, so I arranged to do it at Arden. It made sense at the time, not only because I was an ex-student, but also because Nick was enrolled at the Pre-School. When my prac finished I worked at Arden as a casual teacher for a year, before being offered a maternity leave position which turned into a full-time role. I have worked at Arden ever since, 11 years so far this year, and I love it. Why did you decide to enrol your son Nick at Arden?
I loved my Arden experience so much and I wanted Nick to be given the same opportunity. What advice would you give to other Arden parents or prospective parents of the School about the Arden experience?
As a teacher and a parent, I would say that if you want your children to feel content, nurtured and valued while they learn, then Arden is the best place for them. The size of the School and the School’s Values have a big impact on the wellbeing of our students. Nick briefly left Arden in Secondary School to attend a larger School, however it didn’t feel right for us. Back at Arden again for his senior years, Nick feels like he is known and well cared for by his School Community, and this has brought us both a lot of comfort.
Jane and her brother Simon at home on Jane's first day of School.
Jane felt valued at Arden, and loved coming to School.
Jane (front row, left) in Mr Tolvanen's Year 5 class.
Jane with her son Nicholas (Year 12)