1) What do you love most about teaching Geography?
Day to day, I always enjoy delivering lessons and interacting with the classes I have, but as a Geography Teacher the trips are always a highlight. Its great teaching about the environment you are physically in. Trips also provide an opportunity to see students in a different light and the relationship you have with a class is always more positive following a fieldtrip, hopefully because they enjoyed the trip as much as I did!
2) What is your educational background, both academically and career wise?
For all of secondary school, I went to the standard comp in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. I actually wanted to drop Geography when I was in Year 10 because I didn't like the coursework. I often look back at that point and wonder what I would be doing now if I had! I went on to do a BSc in Geography at the University of Brighton. Before that, I don’t think I had ever really switched on academically, I didn’t get great grades at school, but found the work at university really interesting and I ended up graduating with a First. I loved Brighton as a place and I stayed to do my PCGE at University of Brighton too. I would like to do a Masters one day, but it would have to be in Geography.
3) What has been the most memorable experience to date in your career?
Some of the most memorable are often the most amusing! The students never fail to make me laugh at some point in the day which I value incredibly highly. Aside from the comedy, the most memorable has to be the two expeditions to Tanzania that I co-led with Miss Rudd last year. The preparation that went into both was intense, but the stress beforehand was hugely exceeded by the amazing experience once we were there. I think in terms of lasting impact on students, being a part of those trips was the most intensively rewarding thing I have done with work.
And now for some light-hearted questions
4) Starting with a Geography related question of course, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I can’t possibly answer that! There are far too many to choose from. I’ve not even been to loads of places I think I would like to live! I’ve got family in Berlin, so that would be fun for a while. I was in Australia over Christmas and that was amazing, it would be a great life in Melbourne. Of course there is the UK, I could go back and live the Devonshire country dream of wellington boots and springer spaniels quite happily. Nope… can’t choose.
5) If you could get a Selfie with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
David Attenborough. He’s a universal spokesperson for understanding and preserving the environments I teach about.
6) If you weren’t a Geography teacher, what alternative career path do you think you would have taken and why?
I think I would have gone into something outdoors. Maybe adventure education or horticulture? I really like being outside and feel fairly deprived of the countryside here, but equally I don’t crave serenity and isolation. I would still have to work with people.
7) If you could choose one actor to star as you in a film, who would you choose and why?
Arnold Schwarzenegger. At least then it would be an action movie. Even I wouldn’t go to see a film about the life of a Geography Teacher. Dreadful idea.
8) What’s your favourite restaurant in Shanghai?
Vis-à-vis on Fuxing Xi Lu, always great food!
9) What 3 things could you not live without in Shanghai?
Right now… My heater. My guitars. My heater again.
10) Do you have any exciting plans for the Chinese New Year break?
I’m off to Rome to do some landmark spotting and fitness training… fitness whole pizza in my mouth.
Thank you for your time Mr Hill.
We will be back with another edition of Getting to Know You after the Chinese New Year break.
Ryan Kealey, Marketing and Events Manager