Meet Klaudia Tomaszun, one of DCB’s Founding Staff
At DCB, Klaudia Tomaszun is legendary for many reasons. While her bright blond hair and blue green eyes makes her a natural stand out, it’s her gentle warmth and affectionate nature that has endeared her to our students and many of our DCB community – 18 years and counting.
Assistant Head of School - Enrichment
Our dear Assistant Head of School - Enrichment Klaudia Tomaszun has been in China for 29 years, and we’re very proud that 18 of those were spent nurturing students’ potential with us here at Dulwich College Beijing. She is now part of the DCB legacy that has not only graduated some of the country’s top students, but also inspired them to go further and make a positive difference in the world.
Klaudia Tomaszun’s photo, AY2012-2013
As one of the College’s pioneer teachers, she was part of the world-class teaching cohort that greeted our first batch of students back in 2005 which the following year would garner the distinction from The Guardian as one of the world’s best British international schools. Over the years, she dotingly watched as the institution grew from a humble population of a little over 150 students to now ten times that. No surprise then that, when our alumni visits or calls, that some seek out their former teacher.
“It’s been a life journey for me,” she shared. Ms Tomaszun first came to China in 1995 when she began her studies at Nankai Middle School in Tianjin. At the time, she was representing Poland’s National Team and was training with some of the best table tennis players in China. She later headed to the capital for university and graduated from Beijing University of Physical Education, and obtained her PGCE qualification from the University of Sunderland.
The old DCB Riviera Campus
Her life at DCB began with the Early Years (now called DUCKS), and teaching PE meant shuttling back and forth between our two campuses back then. Back then DCB had two campuses, and she would shuttle back and forth to teach the students. Then, she moved to Junior School where she eventually became Head of PE before moving on to a more senior role when she became Head of Year 8.
Special visit to a class by Panda Woman (aka Klaudia Tomaszun) during a class on pandas. Dulwich College Beijing Newsletter, June 1 2007
Fast forward to these past few years, when she eventually joined the Senior Leadership Team to become the Assistant Head of Enrichment. And she loves it! Ms. Tomaszun said, “I have the privilege to teach which allows me to know my students both inside the classroom and outside.”
“I've been lucky; our students are exceptional,” she shared. “I know that people from other schools would say we are biased, but actually I'll tell you that it's not true: DCB students are special, our community is very special. These are words of staff that have moved on to other schools!”
And so, together with some of DCB’s journalists-in-the-making – Heloise, Olivia, Martin and Ella of the talented Senior School Dulwich Dudes Podcast (SS DDP) – we learn more about the wonderful Ms Tomaszun.
SS DDP: Hello everybody! Today we're going to have a special chat with Miss Tomaszun.
KT: Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for having me here, it is really really a pleasure to be here.
SS DDP: So we’re first going to ask you five questions about the school.
First question: Can you tell us more about your job and what you do?
KT: I have a pretty great job. I think I have got the best job ever because I get to work with all the DCB students from across the College, from Early years, Junior School to Senior School.
I look after the Enrichment side of the College. And I look after House system, ECA program Service, and Student Leadership. This is where the magic happens really – your (student) initiatives leave legacy! This is what DCB is. Everything that you see around the school – DIMUN, MUN, House system, trips, service organisations –these were all brought by students. So yes – it is pretty incredible to work with you and pretty incredible to work at DCB.
DIMUN XI, March 2021
I’m also in charge of trips – both domestic and international and all the service organisations at the College – making sure that the students from the Whole College are connected to each other. We look at the holistic picture of a child making sure that they gain these experiences. Some examples of Whole College events include Pink Week, or Chinese activities like the Chinese fair or Founders Day, Sports Days.
SS DDP: Can you share some experiences or highlights during your career at DCB?
KT: That's a tough one. You know, I've been at DCB for over 18 years now, so I've seen DCB grow from 150 students to right now nearly 1600 students. And you know, to pick a highlight or two is really pretty tough. I would say every day is a highlight – whether that's in DUCKS seeing students working together, collaborating together with slightly older students or older students collaborating with younger students. And you know that the teacher educators are pretty incredible.
But if (we must), one that's really stuck to me is the first Dulwich Olympiad. DCB had the privilege to be the first one to host the first Olympiad – I do believe that the next Olympiad is coming up in 2024 – and that's going to be hosted by Dulwich Singapore. I think that was one of my highlights but as I said it's pretty tough to choose one because there's so many.
SS DDP: What is Dulwich Olympiad and how do you feel about it?
KT: Excellent! What is Dulwich Olympiad… this is a sporting event like the Olympic Games where all the Dulwich schools gather and play together. We compete in Basketball, in Football, Swimming, Badminton and in Athletics. Our student musicians and artists also come to perform.
SS DDP: What challenges did you face?
KT: We can address the one that (has been the) biggest challenge these past three years for all of us…
So it’s a pandemic right… Within Enrichment, restrictions were placed due to health and safety so we couldn't deliver our regular programs. We had to be very adaptable and flexible which showed us how strong we are, how resilient we are and how collectively we are able to adapt when needed.
SS DDP: Can you tell us more about events happening soon?
KT: We have loads of enrichment events happening – both House and Service events.
One is the House Drama that will be led by our amazing Year 12 House Prefects and Head of Houses that will happen on February 21st – super exciting because it is always one of the best shows performed and led by students. After being given the theme of the drama, they start with rehearsals and the result is ownership of their ideas and the project.
After House Drama, we also have House debate and House Singing in March that involves the whole school - which is again, absolutely brilliant.
Then after, we have Trivia Night for Senior School. Our Interact Club prepares some quizzes for Senior School and College staff, and it's really, really fun with lots of fun questions with some snacks. All proceeds raised are usually donated to the charity of the students’ choice of Service Organisation.
And we have other House events happening – House STEM, House Film – where students produce the film themselves and it is showcased during Whole School Assembly.
There are some smaller House events led by our Sports Prefects for younger students, so Prefects prepare and plan and even (invite) other referees from the student body.
We've got exciting Residential Trips happening, and this year they are going to be happening outside Beijing! We are really looking forward to it! It’s a great way for our students to just step out of DCB and spend time together – and have fun! Our students are high achievers; they have a lot of pressure, and they deserve a break.
Hopefully, slowly, everybody comes back to the sense of community participation DCB used to have (before the pandemic). So there’s Founders Day and in May and an alumni gathering in June. I'm hoping for good number of alumni to meet with the current Year 12s and maybe Year 10s and 11s and to share their experiences so far. Then have a look around DCB and then maybe have a nice dinner.
AMC: What do you think makes the DCB community special?
KT: One thing that I think is special – and I hope that will retain – is that every single member of our staff and students always goes above and beyond what is expected of them.
Everyone, from our teachers to our Head of Schools, including the headmaster, ever since our first Headmaster – Brian McDouall – up until now it’s our people that make our community. DCB is not a just-do-your-job school, here we go above and beyond… because only then can you learn who the kids are, can you really get to know them, and be really part of the community. That’s my hope – that we continue to be this way.
The DCB community has been hit, because there are some families who joined that were never part of it because they didn’t get a chance to be part of it. I’m hoping that, with the changes, that’s what’s going to be back. It’s a process, and to see what’s special about DCB you need to see it, you need to experience it.
SS DDP: Thank you!
So that's the end of today's episode. We are really happy to have you, Ms Tomaszun.
KT: Thank you so much for having me guys!