Alex teaches History, and is Head of Humanities at ICHK Secondary.
Why did you want to become a teacher?
I was working as an Archaeologist for Cambridge University which was becoming less enjoyable so I was looking for something more fulfilling; I had really loved History at school and enjoyed taking the school groups and the students around the sites that I was working on so it seemed a simple progression into teaching.
What is your first memory from school?
As a student, it was accidentally stabbing myself with a pencil. But other than that it was the first sense of achievement I remember and how happy I was as a result; this was being able to correctly explain how to work out the area of a circle and other geometry calculations. The look on my mum’s face was priceless.
What makes a ‘good day’ at school?
Where I have created a sense of enthusiasm about the content we are covering. I also hope that this has helped the students develop their understanding to the point where I am confident that when I ask them next time they will be able to recall what we covered.
If I walked into your classroom on a typical afternoon, what would I see going on?
My bad handwriting on the whiteboard, students reading, writing and/or discussing ideas and their thoughts either with each other or as a class, so it would be I hope quiet and focused. When they are discussing ideas and answers these can be more lively. I try and follow a simple structure so the students get an idea of what is expected and what is going on and feel happy to contribute as often as they can to discussions.
What’s the funniest thing a child has ever said to you?
Student: “Can we have a fun lesson?”
My son: “I’ve made up a new word, “pedallated”. It means to add pedals to something to allow you to drive it.”
What are your “trapped on a desert island” books or movies?
I’ve never read War and Peace so that might provide an ideal opportunity but I’d really like to take all of Gerald Durrell’s books, Bill Bryson’s “Down under” and Stephen Hawkin’s “Brief History of Time” as I might have time to try and understand it.
I would certainly want to have the 1st three Indiana Jones movies and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. (Cast Away might provide some useful tips but I don’t really like the movie).
What is the hardest thing about being a teacher?
Balancing competing requirements and being well read enough about the practice of teaching, psychology of teaching, and current historical research.
What inspires you?
The teachers who taught me and the people I meet on a regular basis from all walks of life who do amazing things to make the world a little better.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Not sure, I’m still working on it.
What would the students be surprised to find out about you?
That I wanted to be a zookeeper and work in London Zoo like Gerald Durrell.
That I once had hair and was a hand model – in both cases, briefly.