All about me - My big question: Why can't we stop world poverty?

Tes Editorial

What was the best advice you were ever given?

The best and worst advice I was given came on consecutive days when I started teaching in a comprehensive just south of Birmingham in 1981.

The worst was from my head of department, who told me it was my job to teach not to sort out behaviour problems - he said that was the head of year's job.

The best came from my head of year, who told me pupils would respect me more if I sorted things out myself. That advice is probably at least part of the reason why I've ended up where I am - so if you're reading this, a big thank you to Brian Jones from North Bromsgrove High School.

What is the song of your life?

"Don't Give Up" by Peter Gabriel - it was on the radio when I was on my way home from my leaving do to take up my current position. It inspired me to do my best. I played it in assembly during the school's last inspection - and we got outstanding.

What's your proudest achievement?

My three great children - two boys who are going into teaching and a daughter, who has just finished her GCSEs and may go the same route.

Who do you most admire?

Nelson Mandela. He never gave up and achieved so much, not only for his struggle in South Africa but for racial equality around the world.

What's the secret about teaching that the wider world doesn't know?

It's one of the most important jobs in the world - it is sometimes the most soul destroying and at other times the most rewarding.

Where is your favourite place?

Wherever my family is.

Where in the world would you most like to visit?

The Himalayas - it's always conjured up images of mysticism for me. I've promised my daughter we will go there for her 18th birthday.

If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?

Martin Luther King. I would love to be able to understand where he got the inner strength he needed to address racism in the US in the Sixties.

What do you wish you'd known when you started teaching that you know now?

You never stop learning - the younger you are the more you think you know. Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

What's the big question about life that you would most like answered?

Why can't we do more to prevent world poverty?

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Tes Editorial

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