In My Own Time

26th August 2011 at 01:00
Anthony Finn, Chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland

Books

I always advise new teachers to keep a sense of proportion about teaching. However overwhelmed they may feel, they should keep doing the things they enjoy outside school. I recently enjoyed Bob Holman's excellent biography of Keir Hardie, was intrigued by Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, appreciated both the serious and humorous sides of Ian McEwan's Solar and am completing The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht. I am a big fan of Kazuo Ishiguro (not just because his wife comes from Clydebank!), have read every novel I can find by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Francois Mauriac and have developed an interest in Canadian writers: Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin and Carol Shields' Unless leading to Yann Martel and Alice Munro's short stories.

Music

If my holiday iPlayer reveals my age by including The Beatles, the Stones, Meatloaf and Rod Stewart, then perhaps Paolo Nutini, The Fratellis and Katie Melua reveal the age I think I still am. Tchaikovsky's and Mozart's violin concertos, Handel's Messiah and Mahler's Second simply represent what I have become!

TV

The West Wing is entertaining, well written and realistic. My favourite episode "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc" (series 1) cleverly shows that politicians must, albeit retrospectively, really know what they are doing. Hugh Laurie in House is a model of everything we want, and don't want, in a doctor (perhaps even a teacher). And if the various incarnations of Blackadder offer an entertaining account of history, Gavin and Stacey provides hilarious social commentary from South Wales and Essex. I enjoy good thrillers, such as Spooks and Spiral from France; and any sport involving a ball.

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