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Personally speaking - 'Think big, different and fast'

Who has been your biggest influence?

So many of my former teachers at St Martin's School, Essex and my mum, a former primary school teacher who showed me that learning can be creative, messy and fun, while having real rigour and standards.

What is your career high so far?

Former students making contact saying they have been inspired by me to teach.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

Any time I replicate a phrase or scenario I thought was pointless in my own education and find myself repeating it in someone else's.

Which pupil are you most proud of?

All those pupils who entered into a discussion about wanting to be a better learner - and then went on to achieve their goals.

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

"Think big, think different, think fast" - it just appeals to me.

What is the most outrageous thing a colleague has done?

Outrageous in a funny way was the April Fool's joke on the staff a few years ago. In the absence of the head, a senior colleague took the opportunity to lead a staff briefing and announced a car-parking tax for all staff apart from the head. Oblivious to all this, the head spent days fending off irate staff.

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

I always wanted to be a concert promoter.

What do you do on a Friday evening?

Have dinner with friends and contribute to the economies of various southern hemisphere countries by drinking their finest exports.

Where did you last go on holiday - and why?

St David's in west Wales - so many friends were having great holidays in St David's and it was a chance to break away from Devon and Cornwall. I am now a big fan of the area.

What is the worst excuse you have ever heard?

Any that take longer to explain than the time it would take to rectify why an excuse is needed in the first place.

Jim Smith is assistant headteacher at Clevedon School, North Somerset, and author of The Lazy Teacher's Handbook. He is also an associate of Independent Thinking, which provides speakers for schools, and has his own website, www.thelazy

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