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My Big Question: Was this what you expected?

What is the best advice you have been given? "Measure twice, cut once

What is the best advice you have been given? "Measure twice, cut once

What is the best advice you have been given?

"Measure twice, cut once." This could be an analogy for all sorts of situations.

And your proudest achievement?

On a personal level, jointly with my wife, our son. Work-wise, I am particularly proud at the moment of the Films for Learning project that we have developed at our school with Microsoft. It's a website for films made by pupils and teachers. Visit

What one thing would change your life for the better?

Being disciplined in taking physical exercise. I'm getting to that age where latent fitness cannot be relied on and I always get shown up by friends.

What is the song of your life?

"Changes" by David Bowie. It's very apt considering the previous question.

Tell us about the last book you read

It was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, but reading for pleasure gets restricted to holidays. I found the story a bit contrived, but the theme was powerful nonetheless.

Where is your favourite place?

Long Beach in Tofino, Vancouver Island, Canada, but I will settle for Gwithian Sands in Cornwall.

And where in the world would you most like to visit?

New Zealand, but I want to go while fit enough to enjoy the great outdoors, so I should try to get there before I retire and avoid joining an awful coach tour of Globe Trotting Carbon Generating Geriatrics. Not an easy trip for a teacher - our summer is their winter.

If you could meet anyone who would it be?

Leonardo da Vinci, but in the present, not the 15th century. Just imagine what he would come up with now.

Who do you most admire?

My colleagues and Dame Ellen MacArthur, the sailor, for her resilience, determination and spirit.

Share a secret about teaching

Pretend to be angry before you are. It stops you from going over the edge.

Apart from the job, what three things are most important to you?

Family, challenges in life and friends.

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

That teaching relies on teachers conforming as much as pupils.

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

Was this what you expected?

Mark Richardson, 42, is a design technology teacher at Thomas Hardye School, a comprehensive in Dorchester, Dorset.

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