Mr Hindley by Jamie Laing

The Made in Chelsea star might have been `a little bit cocky' in school, but in English he was all business, thanks to his teacher's sporting approach to literature
13th February 2015, 12:00am


Mr Hindley by Jamie Laing

I was a little bit cocky at school, as you can probably imagine. I enjoyed it though, mostly because I loved sport - especially rugby - and Radley College was big on sport.

Mr Hindley taught me rugby, but what was really impressive was that he made me enjoy English too. One followed the other. His ability to connect with me on the rugby field meant he had my attention in the classroom where another teacher perhaps might not have.

What was really interesting was that his teaching methods didn't change dramatically between the two. He had a way of relating the competitive side of sport to English classes - for example, that the desire to outwit or outsmart an opponent wasn't hugely different from the way that authors toyed with a reader and played with the written word. But what was perhaps more bizarre was that I found I could translate my new understanding of English to the rugby field. I became very good at analysing literature and, playing fullback, I could use that ability to analyse the pattern of a game. I realise that's an odd parallel but it worked for me.

I remember that Mr Hindley would make us take it in turns to read out loud when we studied a text, rather than just sit there with the monotone of one teacher jabbering at you. It was immersive to be part of the lesson, and competitive because you'd try to read with more drama than your classmates. That was it - he made it competitive. God, I love competition.

What sort of guy was Mr Hindley? Stern when he had to be, great fun when he didn't. I remember using a break-up with a girlfriend as a reason for not doing an essay and let's just say that, with the use of choice words, he made it clear that wasn't an option.

Work was work, for Mr Hindley - it had to be done - but that didn't mean our lessons were drab. I think that's so important. School should be entertaining, classes should be engaging and this guy got that. He would look you in the eye when he spoke to you and you mustn't underestimate how important that is if you want to engage someone. I actually think I do that in life, in part because he did.

He had wonderful wit and a nice turn of phrase. In boys' schools the lads make fun of each other and he'd join in - not in a bullying way but in a well-judged, measured manner. He was a good guy.

I guess the highest compliment I can pay Mr Hindley is that we didn't want to miss his lessons. We respected him, he made us laugh and he made us learn. Jane Eyre, Hamlet, The Great Gatsby, The Color Purple: I have great memories of learning these works, all taught by him.

To this day I don't understand why teachers feel they have the right to talk down to kids. Discipline them, sure, but don't talk down to them. Mr Hindley wouldn't talk down; he didn't think he was better than you.

In short, what I'm saying is, if he had to choose his top five favourite students in his career, I'd 100 per cent be in that list.

Jamie Laing was talking to Tom Cullen. Join Jamie on his UK Schools' Mission this Red Nose Day to help get 300,000 children across Africa into education and learning. Order your free fundraising pack at www.rednoseday.comtes.

Red Nose Day will take place on 13 March

Made in Radley

Jamie Laing

Born 3 November 1988

Education Radley College, Oxfordshire; studied drama at the University of Leeds

Career Star of reality television series Made in Chelsea and founder of confectionery brand Candy Kittens

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