Personally speaking - 'I mixed up the north and south poles'

29th October 2010 at 01:00

Who has been your biggest influence?

Sir Iain Hall, my physics teacher at school in Kirkby (Liverpool), a challenging urban area where entry to higher education wasn't the norm. Sir Iain believed in me and it was his high expectations and encouragement that made me go on to university. It was great to show him what an inspiration he was to me when I nominated him for an honorary doctorate from Edge Hill. He received it earlier this year in recognition of his passion for teaching.

What has been your career high so far?

Getting three professorships in the same year was pretty cool, especially because I had always viewed myself as an underachiever until then.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

As a student teacher I forgot my lesson plan, which is vital when you are starting out. It was about animals of the polar ice caps and I kept getting the north and south poles mixed up. It was not the best lesson I ever taught, and the pupils - and my assessor - were less than impressed.

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

As a trainee teacher I had to do an introductory course in psychology. Afterwards, a tutor said to me: "Every class you go into will have a room of 30 amateur psychologists, many of whom will be much cleverer than you!"

What is the most outrageous thing a colleague has done?

A music teacher who was nearing retirement had difficulty keeping pupils under control so he resorted to using a glove puppet to tell the children off. I think they were so shocked that they responded to this in a positive way.

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

I graduated in physiology so probably a researcher in neural control of heart function.

What car do you drive?

A very old, midlife-crisis Mercedes.

Where did you last go on holiday - and why?

Boston, Massachusetts - to watch the Red Sox play baseball. I have been a massive fan since I was a youngster.

What is the worst excuse you have ever heard?

"I didn't do my homework because I didn't have time to copy it off my mate, Sir ... and I haven't got a dog who could eat it!"

Professor Mark Schofield taught in primary and secondary schools in the North West for 17 years. He is now dean of teaching and learning development at Edge Hill University in Lancashire.

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