New face

7th March 2003 at 00:00
Name Gill Mead

Age 55

Current post Newly qualified, working as a part-time librarian and Latin teacher at Chesterton community college, Cambridge

Career to date?

I did my degree in English then a postgraduate qualification in librarianship. I worked mainly in university libraries, but I'd done some teaching - at Anglia Polytechnic University - and some community education, but none in schools. I became librarian at this school when my children were younger because of the hours. I began to do some Latin teaching as an instructor out of school hours.

Why did you become a teacher?

My headteacher encouraged me. The trouble with teaching is that when you start, it's difficult to stop. It's a sense of something new, and every day is different. You could teach the same nugget of information 20 times and each time it would be different. I did Latin at A-level, and my first degree concentrated on medieval studies which involved a lot of Latin. I kept it up with bits of teaching. It's fun to teach because it involves many things - the linguistic side, history, Roman social and cultural life.

What's the best thing that's happened to you so far?

Local schools run a Latin competition in which children read and act a short play. It's nearly all private schools that enter as they're the ones that read Latin. The first year we entered, I was helping with the play, and we did an alternative version, with cross-dressing, a boy with balloons up his chest and funny wigs - and we won. That was the best. The local comp winning a Latin competition.

And the worst?

You prepare a brilliant lesson for Year 11 and you've got all your worksheets and everything worked out. And you get to your lesson and it's a different group of kids facing you because you forgot it's not Year 11 you're teaching, it's Year 10. I remember that happening - I had to make it up as I went along.

What do you like most about teaching?

The moment when a child understands something, when they see the light, whether it's some obscure grammar point or some aspect of Roman cultural life. And they suddenly see - that's the best thing.

What is your dream job?

I've got it. What would make it better would be teaching Latin in the school day rather than outside the school day.

Top tip?

Give teaching a go - once you've tried it, you're hooked.

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