You’ve just joined our school this year, where were you working before coming to Shanghai? I worked in an outstanding secondary school in Towcester, Northamptonshire, UK. I had a great time there, I went on every school trip I could get permission for, went on loads of Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, worked in a fantastically dedicated Geography department and helped to make Geography the most popular options subject for GCSE and one of the biggest for A-level. As much as I loved the school, the same could not be said for Northampton where I was living, so I started to look elsewhere. Ever been to Northampton? Don’t go.
As a Geography teacher, what is your favourite type of holiday? I like to get to know the places I’m in. Often for me that takes the form of volunteering and traveling rather than a package holiday. Living and working with local people you get a true impression of what a country is like rather than the version put on for tourists who are there to splash their cash. That sounds a bit ethical… Don’t get me wrong, I spent 5 days in a kite-surfing beach resort town in the Dominican Republic last year, but I had been volunteering in Haiti for 3 weeks beforehand so I think I earned it!
Do you have a favourite Geographer? Er… Me?! That’s a surprisingly hard question as Geographers tend not to be high profile people. I suppose, although he might not class himself strictly as a Geographer, Bruce Parry fits the bill. He did a TV series called Amazon where he lived with remote tribes and tried to immerse himself into their life. I love my job, but if I had to do anything else I would go for something like that.
What’s your favourite thing about Shanghai so far? New places, food, music, culture, language, people. For me nothing is stale here, it’s all new and it’s changing all the time.