Personally speaking - 'He didn't notice the cartoon fart'

5th November 2010 at 00:00
Tracy Irish taught English and drama for 16 years and is now education programme developer at the Royal Shakespeare Company

Who has been your biggest influence?

My mum - she taught me to read, gave me books and encouraged me to ask "why?"

What has been your career high so far?

First nights of productions when all that hard work comes together and the students shine - as, deep down, sometimes very deep down, you knew they would.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

I once spent a year working in a department of two and my colleague was, well, mean. It was a horrible experience and has really made me appreciate all the other lovely colleagues I have worked with over the years.

Which pupil are you most proud of?

The bad 'uns that come good; the quiet ones that find their voice. To represent them all I will nominate Zoe who came from a very abusive background and played Juliet - beautifully.

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

That people generally talk about what they know - so while it may sound like they know more than you, they just know different things.

What is the most outrageous thing a colleague has done?

A photo outside the head's office showed the deputy head leaning forwards, cheering on a race at sports day - a colleague drew a cartoon fart behind him. I don't think he noticed for a couple of weeks.

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

I would like to be a quantum physicist - but as I didn't get further than a B at O-level physics I suppose it's an unlikely alternative career.

What do you do on a Friday evening?

It will generally revolve around trashy TV and curry.

What car do you drive?

A Clio - that does 63mpg.

Where did you last go on holiday and why?

Canada, to spend time with my husband who is on a motorbike trip from Alaska to Panama.

What was the last book you read?

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood.

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