Tell us a little bit about your background.
I had lots of interesting little jobs when I was younger…from postman to waiter, bottle washer to aquarium presenter, most were part time, a few had the potential to become more serious, but I really wanted to be a teacher. I started teaching in Rowner, near Portsmouth, England in a very challenging school. From there I moved over one city to work in Southampton, but left the school in the winter of 2000 because I wanted to go on an adventure! I took a job in the British School of Moscow and landed on January 5th 2001. Imagine my mum’s face when I told her I was going to Russia. My grandmother gave me one hundred pounds and was fairly convinced she would never see me again. 6 countries later I now have a lovely wife and my whole life is an adventure!
What do you like most about being a class teacher?
I love it when students get the ‘aha’ moment. Last week my Year Fours were exploring whether it is possible to make a lump of clay float. One student made a life ring, another made a duck. Both were amazed that the clay sank to the bottom immediately. A flattened out disc was the most popular idea because the clay was light and thin. Blub, blub, blub – they sank too. At the back of the line stood one of my boys with a little round, thin, thumb bowl. He waited patiently until he got to the front of the line, then amazed his peers by showing them how to make clay float. Suddenly we were inundated by little boats (many of which were still way too heavy to float), and lots of voices shouting ‘it’s the shape and the weight that makes it buoyant!’
What Age groups have you taught and which is your favourite?
I had to fill in an application form for a University Degree course recently (twice actually, but that is another story). On it I had to fill in all my teaching experience: the first 13 years were a bit repetitive – I either taught Year One or Year Two. In Thailand I had a Year One class, but on Tuesdays I was released to teach Kindy first, then Years Seven to Ten Art. Flexibility is my middle name. So in answer to the question I have taught every age group from Kindy to Year Ten. Favourites are not a good idea when you are a teacher, but I really enjoy teaching Year Six, Seven and Year Four of course.
We hear that you like to tell stories. How does this help your students?
It may be true, Mr Green really might have a story for every occasion. True stories, whether from history in general or my own personal tales from my life are a great motivation for my students. When I was in Year Six (all those years ago) I had a teacher who had worked in Africa. I am sure that his stories inspired me to travel and I certainly remember him explaining that you can’t say you don’t like something unless you have tried it. Roald Dahl was perhaps the greatest story teller of all time for children and we know that he based many of his tales on the people he had met and the places he had been. I was listening to a Year 5 telling one of my stories to a group of Year 3’s on the playground a few weeks ago. He was even doing the voices…
What inspires you?
Nature, art, Mrs Green, technology, being in Jakarta, being out of Jakarta, children, walking to school, photographs, stories, swimming, music, shall I go on? I draw inspiration from everything around me. As an artist and a photographer I am always looking for the things that no one else spots. Children are great problem solvers and can be very inspirational when you are looking for creative ways to solve a problem.