One of our newest teachers has been interviewed this term. Find out more about Mr Barlow below.
1.Where did you grow up and go to school and college?
I grew up in Oldham in Lancashire, where my parents still live. I went to the local comprehensive and attended Oldham Sixth Form in the town centre before leaving home for Lancaster University.
2. Why did you decide to teach what you teach?
I’ve always had a passion for English. At school, I excelled in English, History and the modern foreign languages. I struggled with other subjects, simply because I didn’t really have any interest in them. Mrs. Biltcliffe – who taught me at G.C.S.E – always inspired me to do my best and to be honest, she’s probably the reason I’m a teacher now.
3. Where and when was your first teaching job?
My first teaching job was at a school in Rochdale. I taught there for a year, before moving to Shelley College in Huddersfield where I stayed for seven years. I loved it at Shelley, but once my first child was born we moved up to Cumbria, as my wife is originally from Cockermouth.
4. What is the best thing about teaching secondary school?
I’d say the relationships you form with the staff and students and seeing happy, smiling faces on results day in August. Teaching is a difficult job nowadays, but I think you’d still struggle to find a more rewarding profession. 5. How do you think students will remember you and your class? Past students remember my sense of humour. I don’t tend to take myself too seriously, which I think students warm to. I’d like to think my enthusiasm for the subject is apparent in every lesson, especially my love of literature.
6. What is your favourite movie/book?
That’s a tough one. My favourite all-time movie is probably ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, which I’ll happily watch over and over again. My list of favourite books would be a long one, but the two which particularly stand out are Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee (which I studied for my G.C.S.E) remains a favourite too.
7. What is your idea of fun?
Spending time with my family at Buttermere or Crummock water. I love playing football with my little boy and have started taking him to Oldham Athletic games. I’ve been a devoted Latics fan since I was young, attending all home and away matches before I got married. Moving away has made it harder to follow them, yet I still get to the odd game to catch-up with friends. 8. What is one of your hidden talents? I’m not sure I have any, to be honest. I make a mean Spaghetti Bolognese!
9. What would the students be surprised to find out about you?
Whilst on holiday in Australia, I swam in the Great Barrier Reef and was lucky enough to get the opportunity to follow a bale of loggerhead turtles. The colours under water are breath-taking.
10. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Every teacher would love to have eyes in the back of their head at times!
11. List three words that describe you.
Dedicated, hardworking and ambitious.
12. Name three things you love about your job.
1) The daft things that students say – one student once told me she had “never heard of a subordinate clause, but had heard of Santa Claus.”
2) Watching students get the grades and move on to the next level – results day is always an emotional day, for various reasons.
3) The fact that teenagers will always surprise you.
13. Is there a quote or saying that you live your life by?
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde.