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Personally speaking - 'My driving instructor and I agreed I was terrible'

Who has been your biggest influence?

I think I'm quite an impressionable person; I take influence from everyone in my life in big and little ways rather than focusing on one individual.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

I was in my second year of teaching and still quite new to it all. I recall walking out of one particularly tough Year 9 class thinking to myself: "I never want to teach again; I never want to stand at the front of a classroom again." It was just one of those lessons that completely trashes your confidence.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

"Always try to approach people and situations with a feeling of generosity towards them." I'm pretty rubbish at following it; in fact it's rare that I manage it. But on the occasions I have done, I have found it to be a good way to deal with the difficult situations that arise both in teaching and our personal lives.

What car do you drive?

I don't. I did have lessons but the driving instructor and I both came out of that agreeing that I wasn't cut out for driving. I'm pretty uncoordinated and I'm a very anxious person, so I think the combination of the two just didn't work out behind the wheel.

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

Ever since I was five I have always wanted to write novels.

What do you do on a typical Friday evening?

Usually I'm with my husband and (nearly) two-year-old daughter. It is probably quite unusual but she goes to bed at the same time we do, so the evenings are important family time for us.

What was the last book that you read?

A really brilliant science fiction book called Hyperion by Dan Simmons.

What is the worst excuse that you have ever heard?

I remember once saying that I couldn't play rounders because I had an eyelash in my eye, which in retrospect was a pretty appalling plea.

Lorna Robinson studied classics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, before completing a doctorate at University College London. She is director of the Iris Project, a charity devoted to promoting classics in state comprehensive and primary schools in the UK.

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