#bbcInterview with @mrlockyer
*Due to a number of factors, this was the world's slowest interview, taking 4 months from start to finish. Something big must have happened in that time, but I can't think what.
First tell us about yourself.
I'm Stephen, officially 44 years old. I wanted to be a teacher aged nine (arrogance started young) when a hideous teacher wouldn't let me choose books from the mobile library after some form of event happened in school. I vowed then and there that I wouldn't ever deny someone a book.
1. Why teaching? What would you be if you weren't a teacher?
Twenty years on from graduating, I still *love* being in the classroom. You get to be insanely creative should you wish, and I love learning around my subjects to fill the curriculum with all the bits that were lopped off. In another world I'd be an author or inventor, but as a teacher I get to be both.
- 2. What advice would you give for newcomers to twitter?
In the sands of time, I can't remember if I read this, made it up myself, or a combination of the two, but I would say to treat conversations on Twitter as similar to being at a party. You don't just stand in the kitchen asking people if they've seen your new display; you mix and mingle, join conversations, ask other people questions. Get stuck in. I'd also strongly encourage those new to twitter to consider two key things:
1. Treat Twitter as a teaching mentor - as if you were sharing with them (in radio, they picture the typical audience member and speak to them - basically do the same).
2. With every tweet, think 'would I be happy with my pupils/Mum/boss reading this?' It's helped me be calm and rational when I've become wound up by something.
- 3. What are your passions?
I like dipping my toe into lots of things. I love reading and writing (genuinely), but have a confession - despite writing Education books, I don't read many. I find too many ideas from other books I read. I tend to read fiction and non-fiction on rotation, and track my books (but not my spending) on GoodReads. I have a challenge of reading 100 books this year, which I'm back on course to do now. At the start of Lockdown I found I couldn't read. My mind was too distracted, and I got annoyed by characters not socially distancing. I appreciate that this is odd.
I should also add here that I have four children, and spend lots of time with them. Our favourite things are being outside, so we have a garage full of kayaks, bikes, hammocks and Forest School gadgets. I also write puzzle books (no, not like Sudoku) with my best friend.
- 4. What has been your favourite lesson ever?
This could be interpreted several ways, but a recent one that I think is up there with the best is a lesson I fell into teaching (due to a timetabling conflict) for 40 or so Year 6 pupils, teaching them an extract from MacBeth. They were from different schools, so I only knew about 10 of them. I loved it. There's a stunning irony in me both knowing what I have to teach, and also teaching some of my best lessons when I'm thrown in at the deep end. My partner, @ruthiebod thinks that 'my brain has too many tabs open' is a very accurate description of me!
- 5. Who should play you in the film of your life?
I used to think James McAvoy, but I get a fair bit of abuse that I look like either Mr Tumble (when I have my winter coat on) or Miles Jupp (Summer coat), so I'd prefer Jupp of those two. I'm older than I look, smaller than I'd want to be and far funnier in my head than my jokes would appear.
- 6. What is the best/worst teaching advice you’ve heard?
The best is hard to pin down - I've heard so many good things over the years. I had Head who once spent an HOUR observing my teaching, then fed back for another full hour, and her's was the sagest advice on what I do well, and what things to work on. (linked to this, I once narrated a lesson to my PGCE lesson, explaining as I taught what I was doing and why, and we both agreed it was a really beneficial experience).
Worst advice? Too many to choose from. I think you should just ask for help if you need it or are unsure. We are too reserved about asking for help, worry too much that it might damage our careers. Silence damages careers. Going wrong damages careers. Drowning in worry and anxiety alone damages lives. Just ask for help.
- 7. If you were an inanimate object, what would you be?
I can't imagine ever being inanimate. I'm either on the go, reading, or fast asleep. If I had to be an inanimate object, I'd like to be a phrenology bust somewhere interesting.
- 8. What's your most controversial opinion?
Not everyone who is good in the classroom should desire leaving it to lead. It doesn't appear a surface controversial opinion, yet I think it is. I genuinely think there is no harm in being the best teacher you can be. I've often wanted to be a Head, but in its current state, it doesn't look particularly attractive as a job. I once said in an appraisal that I'd have been a great Head in the noughties, when where you saw the pupils and teachers for 90% of the time, and a computer screen for the final 10%. I know that I am viewed as a failure by some because I'm a male in my mid forties and 'just a teacher,' and hate that on both counts.
- 9. Which 4 living people would you invite to dinner?
Two of them would be our neighbours - we've got to know each other well over lockdown, and probably my best friend and his wife. I'm pretty rubbish with friendships (I'm genuinely happy in my own company, and for some reason I don't have many friends).
If the after you are after is four famous people, I'd go: Audrey Brisson, Malorie Blackman, Charlie Brooker, David Leviathon
If this is asking for Twitter peeps, I'd go: Tim Roach, Zoe Paramour, Llewelwyn and CassieHead - people I talk to online who I think would like my cooking skills.
- I make that 12…
- 10. What would you like to be remembered for?
- Being very slow to answer questions?!
(Lockyer picks up the thread on 31st July)
- This is definitely a record. That family time lasted quite a while!
Bored of them now.
- So I guess “Patient father” isn’t what you’ll be remembered for.
I have no idea of my legacy
It’s a genuine burning issue
- Something to ponder.
- Finally….Who would you nominate for an interview?