Studying for an MA in Education in the late-’00s opened Mark’s mind to his passions and possibilities within teaching. He tells us about inspirational lecturers, the joys of a quiet campus and playing walking football at an international level...
Why did you choose to study a Master’s in Education at Bath?
Dr Jack Whitehead was a lecturer in the Department of Education at Bath at the time, and he started running a professional development course at the school where I was teaching in Salisbury. He was a very inspiring educational leader and persuaded several of us to enroll for master’s degrees at Bath based on the ideas of living educational theory that he had developed. I wanted to explore how I could improve my practice as a teacher. In doing so, I was hopeful of taking on more responsibility within my school.
Can you tell us about your experience of studying here?
We used to meet on Saturday mornings in the Department of Education – the campus was nice and quiet on a weekend morning! We were all undertaking our own living theory research, and a fundamental part of the methodology is to share ideas as they emerge and subject them to critical scrutiny from peers.
There were many memorable moments as we shared our educational journeys. It was through Jack Whitehead and the University of Bath that I recognised my ability to become a better educator and the importance for me of embodying my values as a global citizen.
Describe your career journey since graduating. What is a typical day like in your current role?
I graduated from Bath with my master’s degree in Education in 2007. I went on to complete a PhD at Bath Spa University in 2012. Following this, I became Deputy Headteacher at my school with responsibility for teaching and learning, and professional development. I am now retired from teaching and I tutor online.
How did your studies help to develop you professionally?
I went on to lead groups of other teachers who wanted to improve their practice, and several of them also enrolled for a master’s at Bath. Jack Whitehead and I co-wrote a book called International Educational Development and Learning through Sustainable Partnerships: Living Global Citizenship, about an international partnership that I established between my school in Salisbury and a black township school in South Africa.
I continue to live out my values through chairing Salisbury Democracy Alliance, which runs regular Democracy Cafés to debate political ideas in the city and beyond.
What are your passions or hobbies outside of work?
I played football semi-professionally in my twenties and thirties, but it is only in my sixties that I have reached the pinnacle of my football career! I play in midfield for the England over-60s team at walking football. I now have four international caps, having played against Ireland and Wales twice. At 63, I have many years ahead of me to earn more caps and continue to enjoy the 'beautiful game'.
What advice would you give to prospective students thinking about studying your course at Bath?
Immerse yourself in the University of Bath experience! Take the opportunity to discover what your passionately held values are as an educator and find ways of living those out in your personal and professional life.