#bbcinterview with @andykeegan

-          First tell us about yourself.

Where do I begin? Hi, my name’s Andrew, I’m 35 and I live in Cwmafan which is a village in South Wales, but I grew up on the Wirral. I’m a musician at heart, and actually that’s how I got into teaching because whilst at uni in Liverpool I started teaching children brass in the Everton valley and never looked back. I’ve had many different roles in education, both in primary and secondary settings, including a head of department role in a large secondary school, but I’m now a year 4 teacher in charge of Maths and Expressive Arts at a lovely little school in Swansea. My spare time is taken up with my family, and brass banding (which is pretty busy in South Wales!) I always wanted to be a composer growing up, so I keep my hand in by writing works for the band I currently play for. I’m also a runner, and pre-lockdown was training for ultra-marathons, but will have to make do with running round the block for now!

-          1. Why teaching? What would you be if you weren’t a teacher?

Teaching was quite a natural thing for me - my mother and step-father were both teachers, and both worked as teacher educators themselves at university level, so it was always in the family. I had also taught as a way of earning extra beer money at uni and found that I was quite good at it, so decided to apply for a PGCE after I finished my degree. When I was younger, however, I always wanted to be either an archaeologist or a composer for film. I still work as an arranger and composer (these days for brass bands) as I feel you should maintain your passions, and never give up the day job! I carry on as a teacher though because I love it, and although I never “made it” as my younger self may have wanted, I’d not change it for the world.

-          2. What advice would you give for newcomers to twitter?

Interact. I know there are lots of people that like to follow and watch, and that’s totally fine, but for me I found that engaging in conversations and putting ideas out there was the best way to really start to make the most of Twitter. Yes, people will disagree with things you post, and there will be locked horns, but for every one person that doesn’t appreciate your efforts there will be plenty more that will appreciate what you have shared. You also have to remember that as big as Twitter is, it’s not the epitome of education, and we should always remain focussed on the people in front of us.

-          3. What are your passions?

I’m a musician, so composing and performing are high on my list. Even if it isn’t earning an income, I think it’s important to have an outlet of some sort. I spend a lot of free time writing music, and luckily the brass band I play for is willing to suffer my compositions! In terms of education, I’m passionate about moving forwards - curriculum development and innovation, helping staff and pupils achieve the absolute best that they deserve. Research and CPD are top of my priorities, and disseminating this to my colleagues is key. I’m all about achievement, but in a way that isn’t impossibly difficult for everyone to manage. Everyone should be supported in achieving their potential, whatever their starting points, and whatever their barriers.

-          4. What has been your favourite lesson ever?

Wow, that’s actually really hard to answer! I think because I’ve worked across a wide range of ages, the experiences are different. If I HAD to choose, taking year 9 to the park to play samba in the sunshine has to be up there. In primary, I think my favourite lesson was probably quite recently - the class was working with a range of concrete materials to solve multiplications in maths, each task itself wasn’t ground breaking, it just supported them to achieve what they needed to. The reason why it was my favourite is I was being observed by a visiting head teacher who commented on my low number of pupils with Additional Learning Needs (ALN). What he didn’t know was I actually had an entire table of pupils with specific learning needs, but who had been supported in the right way to help their learning. I’d class that as a favourite lesson because everything was right for the pupils in the room. Not too many bells and whistles, just really good quality pedagogy and learning.

-          5. Who should play you in the film of your life?

When Lord of the Rings first came out everyone used to call me Mr Frodo, so I'd have to go for Elijah Wood!

-          6. What is the best/worst teaching advice you’ve heard?

You know, I’ve been incredibly fortunate during my career in that I’ve always seemed to end up working with people who are generally quite sensible! I think the worst bit of teaching advice I’ve ever had is someone swearing blindly to VAK styles of lesson design and having to go along with it. The best advice was that I used to work far too hard in a lesson - I needed to put more emphasis on the pupils working, rather than being the constant entertainer.

-          7. If you were an inanimate object, what would you be?

A pint glass.

-          Go on...

Because even if you're not a drinker, pint glasses are useful! They can hold a lot, whatever the contents, and people rely on them whatever the situation. You know what you're getting with a pint glass.

-          8. What's your most controversial opinion?

This is a tough one! I'm pretty set in my ways personally, politically and religiously, and not in an extreme way, but if I really wanted to cause a stir I'd say that the Harry Potter books actually aren't that good. They're poorly written, and any suggestion that the whole sequence and ending was pre-planned and thought out is nonesense. The films are much better, eternal in fact, compared to any other book-to-film where the films are often worse than the books. Sorry!

And that's not that controversial, I'm quite boring in that respect

-          I’d say that is controversial enough.

-          9. Which 4 living people would you invite to dinner?

4 living people for dinner:

Jurgen Klopp would be my absolute first choice. Whatever your footballing support base, you can't deny that the man is a legend, has worked wonders at Liverpool football club, and is an all-round genuinely nice guy. I'd love to pick his brains as to how he's turned the club around psychologically as I think we could learnt a lot about leadership from him!

Second would be John Williams. I'm not sure I'd actually be able to speak in his presence, but just being in the company of film scoring legend would be enough for me.

Third choice would be another film scoring legend that is Hans Zimmer. As far as I'm concerned he's the godfather of modern film music, and although very recognisable, he's scored some of the most epic films of recent times.

Finally, I'd invite Philip Reeve, author of Mortal Engines, just to spend the evening discussing his vision of traction cities and future worlds.

-          10. What would you like to be remembered for?

I think I'd like to be remembered for just having a passion for, and hopefully inspiring, a passion for music in the classroom beyond "just" music lessons.

-          Finally….Who would you nominate for an interview?

 I would like to nominate @George2Rachel for an interview

Thank you for the interview Ben.


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