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Personally speaking - 'You should do what you love for a living'

Who has been your biggest influence?

Richard Blanes, head of maths at Tendring Technology College. He encouraged me to develop my skills and work in the maths department.

What has been your career high so far?

Winning teaching assistant of the year at the Teaching Awards. It was a huge privilege. I was just lucky to be nominated by one of the students.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

I made some special reward stickers for a Thai girl. I looked up the Thai word for excellent on a translation site, but the word I used didn't have the same meaning.

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

Do what you love for a living and be passionate about it.

What is the most outrageous thing a colleague has done?

I have seen several colleagues do outrageous things at the staff Christmas karaoke. The most memorable was the drama teacher dressed up as Amy Winehouse.

What do you do on a Friday evening?

I go home and spend time with my daughter and try to catch up with my brother George, who lives in New Zealand. It is hard to find the time slot during the week.

What car do you drive?

A black Mini Cooper S.

Where did you last go on holiday - and why?

I have just returned from a family half-term break at Disneyland Paris. We missed a holiday last summer because I was having chemotherapy for breast cancer.

What was the last book you read?

Karl Pilkington's Karlology. Karl was the "idiot abroad" on the TV programme An Idiot Abroad. He left school with one GCSE and decided to broaden his knowledge by visiting museums, galleries and exhibitions. It did make me laugh.

Are you tech savvy or a Luddite?

Although I consider myself to be fairly tech savvy, I sometimes feel that technology is winning the battle.

What is the worst excuse you have ever heard?

"I didn't know there was an exam today!" (Despite the bright posters dotted about advertising the date.)

Becky Newman is a higher-level teaching assistant in the maths department at Tendring Technology College, Essex. In 2010, she was named teaching assistant of the year at the national Teaching Awards.

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