Personally speaking - 'I talk to my car and it talks back'

11th June 2010 at 01:00

Who has been your biggest influence?

My father, who died nine years ago. When I face challenges I could duck, I think of him and keep going.

What has been your career high so far?

Recently securing membership of the HMC (Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference). This will not change the nature of the school overnight - and I wouldn't want it to - but it is recognised as a kitemark of quality and will enable my colleagues to meet fellow practitioners within the association, to share ideas and best educational practice.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

Attending the funeral of a boy in my boarding house. He died in an accident over the summer holiday. His best friends were the pall bearers and conducted themselves with extraordinary composure and dignity, which I could not match.

What is the best advice you have been given?

"Choose your battles." Thanks to Nic Merrett, a fellow housemaster at Uppingham School, for that one.

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

I remember many years ago watching a colleague climb unsteadily into his classroom through a window, wearing the scarf of his beloved football team. I think the class was amused and alarmed in equal measure, but the pupils loved him and he was (and remains) an inspirational teacher, a great colleague and friend.

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

Without doubt, a professional golfer - in my dreams, that is.

What do you do on a Friday evening?

There is almost always something school-related to attend. The next four Friday evenings see a sports awards evening, an arts awards evening, a wine tasting evening for parents, then our annual poetry and prose evening. I am proud of the rich extra-curricular life of the school.

What car do you drive?

A Honda Accord. It's great: I talk to it and it talks back, but in a good way.

Where did you last go on holiday - and why?

When we can, we get away to our family home on the north Norfolk coast. My wife and I walk the dogs on Brancaster beach and I play golf at my beloved Hunstanton Golf Club.

Martin Priestley is headmaster of Warminster School, a private school in Wiltshire for pupils aged three to 18.

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