My parents thought I was going to be the next Stephen Hawking.

No, I didn’t develop a motor neuron disease in my teens.

smart-ladyI also didn’t have a firm grasp on the nature of quantum theory by the time I hit my twenties. Although I was successful at University, I failed to formulate any groundbreaking theories of Cosmology during my PhD.

When I made the 400-mile or so journey up North to Edinburgh University, I was simply a smart young girl looking forward to studying Advanced Mathematics for 4 Years and maybe drinking a few pints along the way.

In the eyes of my parents, my path to success was on the same trajectory as Mr. Hawking’s.

I feel like they must have been a little disappointed to find out that I was ‘settling’ for a job in teaching.

swimming-poolPerhaps they’d dreamt of their high flying only daughter discovering the secrets of creating Warp Drives (my Mother is an incurable Trekkie, who believes the technological advances exhibited in that show are just around the corner).

With the money from the Warp Drive Royalties, I’d buy my Dad the outside swimming pool along with the swimming pool cover he’s always wanted.


For as long as I’ve remembered, my Dad has always wanted a swimming pool in our back garden.

It’s really not big enough for one, but he’s always been adamant – ever since his friend from across the road had one installed. Jim Carswell is a Bathroom’s Salesman with a garden that is 4 times the size of ours. He’s a single man who lives a strange playboy existence but evidently relies on my Father’s admiration to keep his fragile self esteem in touch.

I’ve digressed.

That’s something that happens quite a bit when a Maths practitioner is given the opportunity to write an article that’s about 10 times longer than their average yearly report


Us Secondary teachers aren’t often given the chance to express our thoughts and opinions in anymore than a handful of words. Head Teachers prefer us to keep our reports short and simple, so that the student can quickly grasp what they need to do to improve. Then when it comes to writing reports for the Head Teacher, or even the Board of Governors, they prefer a spoken presentation of no longer than 5 minutes.

In order to gain my PhD in Advanced Mathematics, I not only had to seek funding for my multi-year research project – I also had to present the final product to a board of peers and superiors. To gain the title of ‘Doctor’ I had to talk for over an hour, and ask questions for another forty-five minutes after that.

I love teaching.

My school is an institution that I have helped to mould over the past 4 years, I’ve got a strong emotional connection with the hundreds of students that I have taught and disciplined.


My fellow teachers are wonderfully supportive, compassionate, people that not only understand the needs of the students – but are still driven to satisfy them, despite having decades of cumulative experience in an education system that has not always been 100% behind them.

Despite all these overwhelmingly positive factors, I still can’t help but feel that I’m not being intellectually challenged as much as I could be.

Perhaps I should have followed in Mr. Hawking’s steps after all…