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Personally speaking: 'Show 'em what you're made of'

Jo Sheppard is an advanced skills teacher in drama at Latimer Arts College in Kettering, Northamptonshire. She is also an arts award adviser, www.arts award.org.uk

Jo Sheppard is an advanced skills teacher in drama at Latimer Arts College in Kettering, Northamptonshire. She is also an arts award adviser, www.arts award.org.uk

Who has been your biggest influence?

Creatively, my grandmother, who was a director, playwright, poet and general artist. In terms of hard work it is my Mum, and for aiming high my Dad.

What is your career high so far?

Becoming an advanced skills teacher (AST) was a very special moment.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

I was leading a group of Year 8s in the starter game "Duck, duck, goose" when one girl fell over and hurt her hand. I didn't really know what to do and brushed it off with limited sympathy. I thought I was going to lose my job when the girl returned to school the next day with her forearm in plaster having broken her thumb. Needless to say, I have never played that game since.

Which pupil are you most proud of?

I have had a couple of pupils accepted into drama schools recently, many going on to read drama at university. One pupil has even returned to study to become a drama teacher with me at my college - that is quite special.

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

"Show `em what you're made of!" My parents have said this to me all my life and it fits everything that matters. I found myself saying a more basic translation of this mantra to my five-year-old before her ballet exam recently.

What is the most outrageous thing a colleague has done?

My head of department rapped at a Year 11 leavers assembly recently, which was outrageous in terms of pure brilliance.

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

Definitely a stage manager. I love the thrill of live theatre and find scurrying around backstage so exciting; I love being the feet that work madly under the surface of the water while all the public gets to see is the grace of the swan.

What do you do on a Friday evening?

Having watched a bit of Peppa Pig and taken up my son's challenge of a sword fight in the garden or on the Wii, I usually get to eat a gorgeous meal cooked by my pretty fabulous husband.

Where did you last go on holiday - and why?

To London to show my children the sights. I was glad some friends saw us in the National Gallery, not McDonald's.

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