Personally speaking

4th June 2010 at 01:00
'I was like a dad when kids aced exams'

Who has been your biggest influence?

I have been influenced and inspired by so many of the people I worked with in Africa and thinking about them often stops me from moaning about my own problems.

What has been your career high so far?

Being appointed head of year at the end of my second year of teaching (starting in September). It is great to know that your school is supportive and believes you can do the job.

Which pupils are you most proud of?

My upper-sixth psychology pupils are all just a pleasure to teach. They are the first group that I have seen through the A-level course. When they aced the last set of exams I felt like a happy dad.

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

"It's not that bad." It never is.

What was the most outrageous thing you saw a colleague do?

When I taught briefly in Zimbabwe a few years ago, I saw other teachers beating the children with canes. I didn't feel in a position to judge, but I just couldn't stand it.

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

I used to work as an expedition leader running trips in Africa. I still daydream about it.

What car do you drive?

A reliable but elderly Ford Fiesta. It was recently named the red devil by a friend. Its days are numbered, I fear.

Where did you last go on holiday - and why?

My last big holiday was kayaking up Lake Malawi retracing an expedition carried out by David Livingstone in 1859. Visiting remote fishing communities along the lake totally restored my faith in humankind. Those with so little can be very generous.

What was the last book you read?

David Attenborough's autobiography. He's a bit of a hero of mine. Not only is he an inspiration to millions of wildlife lovers around the world, but he was also involved in commissioning Match of the Day - what a legend.

What is the worst excuse you have ever heard?

"I spilt Coke on my sheet and the cat licked off the writing."

Mike Lamb worked as an expedition leader in Africa and is now a biology and psychology teacher at Hurstpierpoint College in West Sussex.

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