Interview: Mr England

Mr England is a new trainee teacher for the English department. We caught up one lunch time to see how things were going…

How are you finding AGGS?
“I’m finding it wonderful. I think the first thing to make clear is that the amount of support that trainee teachers get in this school is phenomenal. Within the English department, my mentor Miss O’Hara has been incredibly supportive- as have the rest of the department in terms of improving my teaching and showing the high expectations the school has. The other thing which is wonderful about the school is the pupils in it. The girls are extremely motivated, extremely creative and just a lot of fun to work with!”

Why did you want to teach English?
“I’ve always loved English! I loved English when I was at school, when I was at A-Level, I studied English as part of my degree and after leaving university, I worked in various jobs which were related to English. That included charity work and law- those are jobs which use English as a skill; communication, writing, speaking so the opportunity to teach those skills, as well as literature which I personally really enjoy is just fantastic. I think in a school which is known with a high achievement in medicine, sciences and maths, it’s really important to show how useful English is for the professions.”

If you could teach another subject, what would it be?
“That’s a tricky one! I really like maths; I think there’s something really satisfying in maths. You have a rule, and you can use it to solve many problems and I think there are similarities with English to that, for instance, grammar. Understanding grammar means you can understand the meaning of poetry and how language is used to manipulate people in the media. It is very much like applying mathematical formulas. I also think that maths is a really useful thing to have if you want to do English further on, because it builds up those analytical skills you need.”

What subject was your least favourite at school?
“Technology probably, I wasn’t very good at technology. For some reason my brain didn’t like it; it didn’t adapt!”

Have you made any new friends?
“Yes of course. The English department, I’d like to count as my friends now. I don’t know if they feel the same way! They might think I used them for their expertise support! AGGS is a really supportive and friendly community and you can feel that even as a visitor when I came in last year. There’s just a really positive atmosphere and you don’t get that in other schools.”

Would you consider coming back?
“Well, I’m coming back for my third placement after Easter so I’m really looking forward to that. It’s such a wonderful school; I’d love to work here.”

Do you have any hobbies?
“I like to draw. Drawing is really nice, its non-language based but it’s still a way of engaging with the world around you, without having to decode it into writing. You can draw what you see and is also a way of interpreting it.”

Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
“One interesting fact is that one of the jobs I used to do was working for a charity. As part of that I helped rescue 29 ex-circus lions and move them to a sanctuary in America. From a circus which had been shut down in South America, they were flown over and I met them in California, at the airport, and then helped moved them to the sanctuaries. So I met lions!”

What A-Levels did you do?
English, classical civilisations which you don’t have at this school but it’s the literature and history of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. I also did maths and I did history AS-Levels, though I didn’t take history GCSE”

Do you have any final words of advice for AGGS students?
“Continue with what you are doing; believe that you’re going to be absolutely fine and fantastic with whatever you are doing. Don’t over worry it, especially when it comes to exams just carry on with whatever you feel comfortable and confident with. Do what you enjoy…in particular, English!”

Big thank you to Mr England for taking out his time for this interview and we all wish him best for the future!