Tell us about yourself.
I arrived from the UK in August 2013. My two children, a son and daughter, are now grown up and working in the UK. The both went to schools and universities in the UK.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Who was your childhood hero?
When I was a child I really wanted to be a doctor until I was about 16! Childhood heroes were particular teachers I admired but also the scientist Marie Curie.
What kind of student were you as a child (e.g. the troublemaker, teacher’s pet, class clown, etc)?
The sort of student I was depended to a certain extent on whether I really enjoyed the subject and whether I liked the teacher. In general though, I behaved well at school and was so involved in sports, drama, etc that I held positions of responsibility!
What was your image of the school headmaster when you were a student? How do you describe your image now?
The headmistress was always very remote and someone we hardly ever saw and she certainly did not know many students. We usually only saw the headmistress at daily assemblies. I don’t really know what my image is today. I would hope that students do not see me as I saw my old headmistress.
Did you ever get sent to the headmaster’s office?
I did get sent to the headmistress’ office on a few occasions but it was because I had gained a certain number of merit marks or was being awarded prizes in speech day.
What kind of jobs did you have before becoming a headmistress?
When I was a student I worked in a few different jobs ranging from a bakery, a bar, and for Royal Doulton. On leaving university I trained as a chartered accountant and so was involved in a range of businesses.
What is a typical day like in the life of a headmaster?
I don’t think there is a typical day for me at Harrow. The best days are when I get to meet and work with students. Every day is different. I work with and meet so many different people and that is what makes it interesting.
How do most people respond when they find out you are a school headmistress? How do your kids or your spouse introduce you to their friends?
Here in Beijing, reactions are quite different than they are in the UK. In the UK people often think that leading a school is a very hard and demanding position whereas in Beijing people seem to view the position more positively. My children have seen me working in education for so many years now that they are quite used to it. When they were younger they used to get me to help their friends in all sorts of ways such as with university applications or to give them advice.
What job would you want to do if you were not a headmistress? Why?
If I was not a headmistress I would like to go back to university and also to write some more history books which is something I have done in the past and really enjoyed as I still love history.
In all your time as an educator, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned? Tell us an anecdote to illustrate this lesson.
The most important lesson I have learned is that I never stop learning. Learning new things still excites me and I still get amazed by what I learn from students. Since coming to Beijing I have learned so much about Chinese culture from students! They have introduced me to new customs and even new food.
Meet the Principal/Headmaster is a new beijingkids blog series designed to give the Beijing community a better understanding of who our education leaders are in our city. If your school is interested in being featured in our Meet the Principal/Headmaster blog series, please contact the School Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo courtesy of Harrow