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'It's all about your relationship with pupils'

Name Dr Chris Wiskin

Age 27

Current post Newly qualified teacher, teaching biology and chemistry at Bungay high school, Bungay, Suffolk

Career to date?

I did a degree in environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia, then a PhD in population biology of a rare grass . I decided to go into teaching and took a PGCE at the University of East Anglia. I'm also chartered with the Institute of Biology.

Why did you become a teacher?

I did some teaching during my PhD to earn a bit of cash. I found it interesting and rewarding. I became an external lecturer at another university, doing an evening class. I found that rewarding too, and took it further.

What's the best thing that's happened to you so far?

That's a difficult question to answer - there are an awful lot of good moments. During teaching practice at another school there was a particularly good day when we took some children out to count daisies. We were doing it to estimate the number of daisies in the school field - a rudimentary exercise in statistics which they all seemed to grasp. It was a lovely day and I suddenly thought, "They're doing what I've asked them to do, they're obviously enjoying what they're doing, they understand what they're doing, and they're not kicking stones around or making daisy chains." And then I thought, "Yes, I really like this."

And the worst?

Driving a school minibus back from a lecture we took the kids to at the University of Cambridge. I honestly thought we were going to crash. It was dark and hammering down with rain.

What do you like most about teaching?

If you're a scientist you can get caught up in a very small area and it's easy to become insular. That's one of the great things about what we do - you can teach a wide range even though you're still within biology or chemistry.

What is your dream job?

I do like the idea of being a headteacher. In the nearer term I'd like to be head of biology. And I'd like to be able to say I have had some influence through the Institute of Biology on attitudes to how the subject is taught.

Top tip?

Don't believe everything you read in newspapers. You hear so much about teaching that's negative. And it's not - when you get into the classroom, despite troubles and ills with admin or with other things, it's about your relationship with your pupils at the end of the day. That's what it's all about. It's a great job.

Interview by Martin Whittaker

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