#bbcinterview with @amazing_muggle

-          First tell us about yourself.

I’m a primary school teacher from Sunderland #ProudMackem and I have a little girl, who calls me Daddy. Being a Dad is the best job in the world and I feel this defines me more than anything else in my life. I adore the Lake District and I regularly look at properties in the Lakes that I could move into and take on as a renovation project but that is purely fantasy for now. I’m also currently taking the first steps into becoming a children’s author. I have a few stories penned down and LOTS of notes recorded. My first ever short story I completed, after many many edits, is currently being illustrated and I’ll see where that journey takes me. For now though, it’s a wonderful passion that I enjoy.

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

I never actually chose to become a teacher. I’ve been very fortunate enough to bump into some incredible people who have allowed me to follow this path. After dropping out of my first year of university, I was unemployed for what seemed like a really long time. I remember the lovely, soft-spoken lady in the Jobcentre asking me what I’d like to do and I said I think I’d enjoy working with children (and at the time I was hinting to go into sports coaching). A week later I received a phone call from a college lecturer called Lindsey, one of the most fantastic people I’ve ever met, and she invited me onto a Teaching Assistant course at college. After a few years of being a teaching assistant by day and university student by night, I finally completed my degree and immediately enrolled onto teacher training. I’ve never looked back.

If I weren’t a teacher, I’d very happily travel around the UK visiting schools and reading my stories as a successful author. Having said that, when I was really young, I remember wanting to be the person who wore the mascot outfit at the football matches so I could walk around the pitch before the game and high 5 some fans. That seemed like the best job in the world when I was little.

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

1.Get involved! Easiest way I found to start off was through the weekly chats using the hashtags. #SLTChat and the #PrimaryRocks chat was where I first made connections through twitter.

2.Find the next and nearest #BrewEd and attend it! Take a book for the book swap (if there is one) and buy lots of raffle tickets for the 'sack of shite' raffle at the end. I won a sombrero wearing chili pen that I gave away as a present.

3.Tag authors into your tweets. There are so many examples of authors engaging with classes through twitter, what better way to encourage reading for pleasure than blowing their minds with a message from an author. It makes them feel special that an author is conversing with them directly.

- 3. What are your passions?

I have such an appreciation for music. Often it controls and regulates my emotions; I’m always playing something or other. Currently, I’m loving the Tiny Desk Concerts on YouTube. Hobo Johnson and the Lovemakers, Raveena, Mac Miller, Lizzo, Tyler the Creator, Rex Orange County all do amazing sets on there. Outside of Tiny Desk I’m listening to The 1975 or Stormzy.

In school, I have two main passions, but I feel that they are linked through empowerment (Humanitarianism and sport). I love introducing children to inspirations such as Malala Yousafzai. She is one of my heroines and there are so many opportunities for children to develop empathy when learning about her story. Sport provides us with so many life lessons and it’s great for our physical wellbeing. I love seeing children’s confidence grow through sport and exceed their own expectations of themselves. The book Bounce by Matthew Syed (former UK table tennis champion) really influenced me as an educator.

-          4. What has been your favourite lesson ever?

I’m toying being two

-          That’s fine.

In my NQT year, I had a Year 3 class who were robbed in assembly of £5 despite their 100% attendance, it went to another class. I immediately scrapped my literacy lesson after assembly, and we wrote a persuasive letter to the Head to overturn the decision. It was such a powerful lesson as the children were genuinely aggrieved and had a very clear reason to write. It was one of those lessons where you ‘feel the buzz’. The children successfully overturned the decision.

I once had a lesson where I hosted a human rights auction, something I picked up from a Rights Respecting Award training day. The class were split into groups and received an envelope with factual information and money. The information was which country they represented and what their issues were as a nation, for example unemployment rate, poverty rate etc. Then I became an auctioneer and started selling off human rights for the countries to buy. These rights would help fix the issues their countries faced. Initially they needed to create a plan and prioritise. Once the auction started, they realised each country had vastly different levels of wealth and the auction became incredibly unfair. The following conversation, once the auction had ended, was a very deep conversation and the children really immersed themselves in the problems faced in the world we live in.

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

Leonardo Di Caprio is my favourite actor and he’d smash the role, but I’d probably give the gig to Andy Samberg.

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

Best advice was probably don’t be scared to wing a lesson if necessary. It may take an unexpected turn or completely fall flat on its face. But have enough confidence as an educator to adapt the lesson.

Worst advice is always those silly bits that you get pulled up for like having a pile of books on a unit or pencils needing to be sharper.

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

I would be a lucky pair of pants. I love being encouraging to people and being supportive. What’s more empowering than a lucky pair of paints?

*Disclaimer – I don’t believe in luck in the sense that an inanimate object can enhance of your chances of success just by wearing them, however, I do believe that the placebo effect will have a positive effect. Similar to when Harry Potter pretended to drop some Felix Felicis into Ron’s drink and then Ron played an absolute blinder in the next quidditch match under the misapprehension that he had drank liquid luck.

- That’s the best, yet strangest, answer yet.

- Although that would mean you would have to get very close to someone.

Hopefully, as an inanimate object I wouldn't be aware of my use so it shouldn't be a problem. Yet, the thought of it still makes me shudder a bit.

-          8. What's your most controversial opinion?

Schools dinners should be meat free! I’m completely against the consumption of animals and we need a huge cultural shift in our attitudes and behaviours towards meat. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if meat was soon taken off the school menu and replaced with plant-based alternatives.

- Not sure you could scrap meat pie day. There would be a riot... in the staffroom.

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

Sounds like a dream come true picking any 4 living people but in reality I wouldn’t be able to contribute to the conversation. I’d be so far away from the intelligence and wit of the group that I’d have to spectate. I’d choose Ricky Gervais because he is a comedy genius and the creator of my favourite show, The Office. He has such an amazing understanding of life and he’s the constant reminder that we should enjoy the beauty of life. I’d have Tim Minchin because again, he is a comedic genius and is so fascinating. I’d also have to choose Russell Brand, I probably listen to him the more than anyone. Ever since he started his ‘Trews’ videos I have been a huge follower. Listening to his ideals and philosophy is like looking through a window into the future. Finally, I could not resist meeting Malala Yousafzai. I think she would be the maestro who would control the unpredictability of Ricky, Russell and Tim.

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

I’d like to be remembered as someone who always had time for people.

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

@lamb_heart_tea please. She would both give interesting answers!

Thanks for interviewing! Enjoyed it!


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