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Personally speaking - 'Biology field trip decided my destiny'

Who has been your biggest influence?

I went on a biology field trip when I was 17 and the leader was Mr Arthern, who totally inspired me and made me rethink what I was going to do. When I came home I said to my mum: "I want to be Mr Arthern."

What has been your career high so far?

Coming to work at the Ernest Cook Trust - I could finally go up to my mum and say: "I am Mr Arthern." It is combining the two careers that I really enjoy: ecology and teaching.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

Being reduced to tears by a colleague over a missing display, while the whole of key stage 2 filed between us.

Which pupil are you most proud of?

Every child who manages to show their teacher something that the teacher had never seen in them before. There is usually one in every group that comes here.

What is the most outrageous thing you have ever seen a colleague do?

At his final assembly, my first headteacher burst out of a PE store cupboard completely browned up and wearing just a nappy. He was celebrating the life of Gandhi. One poor reception child had to be comforted by the teaching assistant.

What would you be if you hadn't become a teacher?

I would still be an ecologist.

What do you do on a Friday evening?

I make myself a cup of tea, but I never get to the bottom of it because I fall asleep on the sofa.

What car do you drive?

A muddy Peugeot 205 with a huge dent where a deer jumped out on me.

What was the last book you read?

The Secret Life of Trees by Colin Tudge.

Are you tech savvy or a luddite?

I'm fairly tech savvy but sometimes I'm bluffing.

What is the worst excuse you have ever heard?

A boy said he couldn't write with a pencil because his fingernails had just been cut.

Liz MacKenzie worked as an ecologist, then taught in Swindon and Gloucestershire. She is now an education officer for the Ernest Cook Trust, a charity that manages 22,000 acres of land in southern England.

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