English College Year 5 class teacher and maths subject coordinator.
Where did you go to school?
My dad was ex-army so I spent a lot of time travelling around before I was five in Italy and Cyprus. Being the baby of the family, we were settled in Oxfordshire by the time I started school in 1986 and I managed to attend the same primary and secondary school for the whole of my school time.
What was your favourite subject?
I always loved science at primary school as it was hands on. Having a slightly ‘eccentric’ chemistry teacher at secondary school, with a love of explosions and reactions which I am sure are now banned, only reinforced this! I still love the ‘wow’ element that you can put into teaching science lessons today.
What was your least favourite?
I always dreaded art as I seem to be completely incapable of drawing anything which looks like it should. My teacher used to love playing ‘guess what this is supposed to be’ with my pictures. I also fell out with German quite early on as our teacher’s idea of a stimulating lesson was ‘get out your books and learn it’. I had similar teachers for various other subjects which led to me loving or hating them at various times.
Did you have a favourite teacher?
I didn’t necessarily have a favourite teacher but definitely had a shortlist of ones that I preferred – usually the slightly off-the-wall teachers or those who made the lessons interesting and exciting. When I was choosing my A-levels, my parents were baffled when I told them that I wanted to take philosophy, as it was a subject about which I had shown no previous interest in, and it didn’t seem to fit with my other choices. After meeting the newly- qualified Miss Smith at the first parents’ evening, they were in no doubt as to why myself and most of the boys in my year had decided to take philosophy!
Were you good or naughty?
I was usually good but always had a knack of getting into trouble for playing practical jokes on my friends. One of them has still got a scar on his arm from one prank that went particularly wrong!
What was the naughtiest thing you did at school?
We used to have a 40-minute bus drive to school each day. Just before the end of school, during the summer term, a friend of mine and I gave another friend some laxative chocolate that we had bought from the chemists (I think it was reduced as it was nearly out of date, just to make matters even worse). We put it into a paper bag from the sweet shop and told him that we didn’t like dark chocolate so he may as well finish it off, which he did! Needless to say the bus journey home was eventful but not necessarily pleasant.
What’s your happiest memory from your school days?
I always enjoyed the school trips, particularly the outward-bounds ones, as they gave me a chance to do things like kayaking, mountain walking, rock climbing and caving for the first time.
What about the worst one?
The bus journey home after the chocolate incident!