Bouquet of the week;Mike Hitchens

12th February 1999 at 00:00
It's quite simple, really. The key to a healthy and happy life, according to Mike Hitchens, is to enjoy what you do. "I like being a classroom teacher," says Mike. "I've got a supportive family, excellent colleagues and interests outside school. I have been very lucky."

Mike has taught at Roskear Primary School in Camborne, Cornwall, for 25 years - without a day off sick. That's where his luck comes in. "I've never been ill. I've had the odd cold, but nothing to keep me away from school."

Born in Camborne, Mike is a devotee of the town's rugby club, founded 100 years ago, and gets great satisfaction from teaching the sport to players as young as seven. The under-11s team which he established at Roskear are the current county champions and at least four adult players in the town team were Mike's pupils.

He makes a great ambassador for the profession, says headteacher Peter Brinton, who nominated him for Bouquet of the Week and who took over this large primary (450 on roll) a year ago. "He has given me his complete support and he has one of the driest senses of humours I've encountered. Teachers like Mike are the lifeblood of schools. Please recognise him."

Talking to Mike Hitchens is a humbling experience. He's naturally modest and doesn't think he's done anything extraordinary - "there are lots and lots of teachers just like me. We all work hard but you've got to be able to cut off from it and some people do let it get to them. My advice is to have other things in your life."

As well as belonging to the local historical association, Mike is a member of the Cornwall Railway Society. His calm, steady outlook on life has been especially valued by the school of late - he's been teaching his Year 5 class in the school hall for the past term-and-a-half while new classrooms are being built.

This week our Music and the Arts pages include the work of Vic Ecclestone, a remarkable teacher in Bristol and founder of the Hartcliffe Boys Dance Company. He is currently seconded to work throughout the city's secondary schools, inspiring other teachers. We also announce the TES Anthem for the Millennium, part of our campaign to encourage more music-making in schools.

Bouquet of the Week is given in association with Marks amp; Spencer. Names, please, on a postcard - and why - to Sarah Bayliss, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY

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