Our Staff Snapshot Interview for this week is with Mrs Atkins, our wonderful Head of English.
What inspired you to be a teacher?
I wanted to be a teacher when I was at Grammar school – but, having been in a few theatrical productions there, I was lured into the world of acting and decided to go to Drama School instead! Whilst at the Guildford School of Acting I also took all the LAMDA exams enabling me to teach drama, which I enjoyed immensely and that in turn made me want to teach more!
Tell us about your path into teaching:
After leaving Drama college I went to work in repertory theatre at The Redgrave Theatre in Farnham and worked in both main house, studio theatre and Theatre in Education productions which entailed travelling around the South East and performing in schools – memorable roles include being a dog and an 80 year old lady on an ironing board! Having met and married my lovely husband, I gave up treading the boards and worked in advertising instead for a few years and then I worked with my husband in his antique restoration business.
What do you love most about teaching?
The children! They make every day new and interesting, and they frequently reduce me to tears…of laughter, I should hasten to add! Their energy, enthusiasm and humour is addictive!
What were you like at school?
A little naughty – I used to impersonate the teachers – and won quite a few talent contests for this! I'm not sure what the teachers thought of that!
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always enjoyed acting and singing so I think that desire was always there, but I also wanted to be a nurse at one time.
What’s the funniest moment you’ve had in a classroom?
Apart from the great range of names I have been called – Mrs Axehead, Mrs Accident and Mrs Hatpins (who knew Atkins was such a tricky name?) there was one memorable day when a little girl came into school in great excitement to tell me she had a new puppy. “How wonderful!” I said. “What kind of a dog is he?”
“He’s a Rottweiler crossed with a Doberman,” said she.
“Oooh..how lovely,” said I, “What have you called him?”
“Fluffy!” she responded.
“Oooh! Wonderful! And IS he fluffy?” I asked.
“No!” she cheerfully replied and skipped off… “Fluffy” the Rottweiler/Doberman has remained in my memory for more than 20 years!
What’s the most important lesson you can teach?
A little kindness goes a long way and if you believe in yourself, you are halfway there.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Hearing wonderful success stories of past pupils who have gone on to achieve great things in English!
What are you most excited about at Marlborough House this year?
Seeing the school go from strength to strength and having everyone back in school for the whole year! (Fingers crossed!)
What makes Marlborough House such a special place to be?
The amazing people! The warmth, friendship and kindness of colleagues makes it a very special place to be and these qualities were evident from the first day I joined MHS.
School House: Egan
Years at MHS: 14 years
Unusual fact: I lived in America from the age of 3 months to 6 years old, and then again with my husband for 7 years during which time both our children were born.
Highlight of my day: Lunch! The lunches here are amazing and I really missed them in lockdown when I seemed to exist on cheese and crackers!
The book I am reading: Milkman by Anna Burns
Most memorable moment at MHS: The Iceland trip with Mr Kimber! What an amazing place.