Each term we ask members of staff a few light-hearted questions about themselves so that friends of St Mary's School, Cambridge can get to know our team a bit better. Enjoy reading about our members of staff by clicking on each link below.
Year 3 class teacher and Junior School PE co-ordinator
What was your favourite subject at school? PE and Games, of course!
How did you get in to teaching? Many moons ago, I was initially training to teach PE, but decided that I did not want to spend the rest of my life in a track suit. Having changed to train to teach middle school aged children, from age seven to 13, I have loved all of my jobs since, including teaching all boys to now teaching all girls. I took a break from classroom teaching whilst raising our three children in Edinburgh, at which point I trained to teach tennis and swimming, both of which I have enjoyed coaching.
Why did you decide to work at St Mary’s School, Cambridge? I had always heard really good things about the school and I liked the idea of the Christian ethos. I began teaching at St Catherine’s (the former name for St Mary’s Junior School, Cambridge), and my daughter went to the Senior School. It wasn’t long before St Catherine’s became part of that, and I have loved my job and the school ever since.
What’s your favourite thing about working at St Mary’s Junior School, Cambridge? It is hard to know where to begin, but much of it has to be the friendly atmosphere in and around the school. The girls are just super. I love their enthusiasm (even when we are outside in the rain) and their passion for learning – it is infectious. My favourite year group has to be Year 3. I could be biased, of course, but I have taught across the range of ages in primary education and I love the Year 3 pupils’ anticipation for what they will be learning, and their desire to please too, both of which make our job so much more worthwhile. I also have some wonderful, supportive colleagues who are fun to be with; and we work so well together as a team. I love teaching sport too, and working alongside valued colleagues to raise the standard of Junior School sport each year is another favourite part of working at this school. Recently we have had some excellent results, in netball and athletics especially, and I never cease to be amazed at the impact that spotting talent in Junior School girls has, as we are able to work with them and really invest in them – and long may it continue!
Favourite things! What's your all-time favourite…
Book: Frank Gardner’s Far Horizons. I was at university with Frank and have been totally moved by his accounts of brave and exciting travels. His determination to over come a sudden change in his life is inspirational, I admire him hugely.
Poem: Any of A.A. Milne’s Christopher Robin poems. I have read and re-read these poems so many times. My favourite has to be Buckingham Palace.
Film: Catch Me If You Can, the true story of a clever fake. That anyone could possibly pass as a pilot, a lawyer and a doctor and get away with it, all before their 21st birthday, is unbelievable! Or Chariots of Fire! It is an inspiration to any sporty or indeed non-sporty person, as it shares such an important message. Set partially in Cambridge, and with the thrill of the Olympic Games, it was always going to be a hit, but the story of Eric Liddle’s strong morals, and his determination, are valuable lessons to us all.
Story: What Newt Could Do For Turtle by Jonathan London. This is a delightful story that I often read to the children. It is well illustrated and is essentially about a newt and a turtle helping each other out when they are in difficulty.
Joke: I have never been any good at remembering jokes but, from my childhood days, this one still makes me smile:
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: Because it couldn't draw circles.
Recipe: Mary Berry’s malteser cake – I like to find an excuse to make this as often as possible, as it is a winner every time. I also have flapjacks and a fruitcake on the go for tea every day at home – it was part of my marriage contract! I add here that it is hugely appreciated; our house is always open for tea.
Who inspires you? Her Majesty the Queen; it sounds a bit of a cliché, but I think she is an amazing woman. Although clearly privileged she has inspired people and our country in so many ways, and at 90 I can’t help but admire her energy and commitment! I also think Nick Vujicic is an inspiration to us all. I have read several of his books and listened to podcasts; what a brave and passionate man who, despite being born without limbs, is making so much of life.
What’s your favourite hobby? As a child I was passionate about most sports. I was constantly somersaulting, swimming, playing squash or generally filling my spare time with some sort of physical activity. I can recall some of my happiest memories as being laser racing in the Solent, to skiing down a mountain as fast as I could. As time has progressed I still do a considerable amount of exercise, but I have also grown to love the garden, especially tending our vegetable patch and mowing the lawn! If the weather is good and we have the time my husband and I will enjoy going off on a cycle ride and exploring the beautiful countryside around where we live. If the weather is bad I will be seen sewing for pleasure or catching up with my friends – I love going out for coffee, and will find any excuse!
What sort of music is your favourite? I have happy memories from the Pet Shop Boys era – and fortunately they are still going. I love listening to our offspring’s modern music too, and I relish an evening relaxing listening to John Rutter’s choral music.
Where has your favourite holiday ever been? We took our teenage children on a highly successful activity holiday in Slovenia. Based near Lake Bohinj not far from Ljublijana, our daily activities included horse riding, hiking in the Triglav National Park, swimming in Lake Bled, cycling, canoeing and cannoning. The latter was new to us but it involved donning a wet suit, climbing up a mountain and then throwing yourself down the stream (or fast flowing water). It was fairly terrifying and absolutely freezing at the time but exhilarating to arrive at the bottom! Everyone loved the holiday, set in beautiful countryside and with lovely weather – we often still chat about that time.
What’s your worst habit? I am known to often ask for only half of something. This seems to really annoy others as I leave half a chocolate bar or biscuit or half a bag of crisps. I personally don’t have a problem with it; I come back for the other half later (assuming it is still there) – but some say this is a bit odd!
Team trivia: (without looking it up) in which country did table tennis originate? Table Tennis, or American ping pong, was invented by J Jaques & Son, in England! [There are claims that versions of the game existed prior to J Jaques & Son’s trademarked ‘ping pong’ but it is widely accepted that the game originated in England – so correct answer.]