Christopher Timms is Assistant Head of DUCKS and has been at the College for three years. Here, he tells us a little more about his weekend adventures across Singapore, a moving teaching moment, and his ambitions to one day author a children's book!
Where else in the world have you lived?
Singapore is my first overseas destination however, I have lived in many different places in the UK including Manchester, Liverpool, Anglesey, Aberystwyth, Telford and Chester.
Tell us about your family.
As a child, I grew up in Manchester and then later in Anglesey, living with my Grandparents who adopted me when I was very young. Growing up in Anglesey was so much fun, with some pretty amazing beaches and places to explore.
I am now married to Jessica and have three children; 6 year old twins and a 3 year old daughter. They are all here with me in DUCKS and I feel very fortunate seeing them in school every day. I love it when I'm walking through school and one of them surprises me with a big hug, I'm sure they will grow out of it soon so I'm making the most of it for now!
What is your favourite weekend activity in Singapore?
A perfect weekend in Singapore would typically involve going for an early run with a group of runners, many of who have physical disabilities. I then take my family to their Saturday sports clubs and then we go out for some lunch, and maybe an adventure somewhere in Singapore. I really love MacRitchie and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve as we often get lost and must figure out how to get home! A great weekend would also involve watching Liverpool play (and hopefully win) with a huge pepperoni pizza.
Tell us about your running adventures.
As my favourite hobby, running fits in well around work and family life, and it helps me find balance. The highlight of my running week is definitely being a guide for my blind running buddies on a Saturday morning, which is not only extremely inspirational but gives me a sense of perspective, reminding me not to take anything for granted. The human body's amazing ability for endurance and adapting progressively is what then pushed me to start running ultra-marathon distance over the past two years. I actually prefer it, since it's a lot slower and you can eat cake and crisps along the way! Later this year, I hope to successfully run my first 200-mile race in Singapore.
Did you always want to a teacher?
After my dream of being a professional footballer fizzled out when I realised I wasn't actually very good, my desire to teach started when I was 11. My Grandfather was the Headteacher of my primary school and my Grandmother was also a teacher in a nearby school, so I had no choice! For as long as I can remember I have been going into school during the holidays to help out. I think the teaching bug began in Primary School when helping younger children, and then coaching sport when I started Senior School.
What is your favourite book and who is your favourite author?
Okay, my secret is out... I only really read children's books at home or on holiday. Wonder by RJ Palacio is one of my favourites; a story that teaches us the importance of kindness, not to judge people and that everyone is equal. I actually have a secret (not anymore!) ambition to write my own children's book one day, so I am in awe of our Junior School librarian and in-house author, Sarah Mounsey!
Tell us about a hidden talent or a top secret that no one would know about you.
It's not really a hidden talent, but I can speak Welsh almost fluently. A top secret would be that I am really scared of heights. I'm not sure where or when this fear completely evolved, but this seems to have got worse over the past few years, especially on big rollercoasters!
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party, dead or alive?
Assuming I got to invite my family to the dinner party, then it would have to be:
Desmond Dos - Arguably one of the most courageous people who ever lived.
Jurgen Klopp - He is such a motivational person and being such a big Liverpool fan, I'd love to meet him.
David Attenborough - I love his work and his voice absolutely captivates me. I'd love to hear first-hand about his best adventure stories.
Nelson Mandela - Possibly one of the most inspiring leaders the world has seen!
Ricky Gervais - I would have loved space for another inspirational figure but the dinner might need livening up a bit and Ricky Gervais is my favourite comedian.
What does a typical day at the College look like for you?
The reason I love my job so much is that there isn't ever a typical day, which makes it so exciting! An average day involves supporting our DUCKS leadership team; with some things planned and some unplanned! By far, the best and most important part of my day involves being with our students. I don't really enjoy sitting at a desk for too long!
Do you have a motto or saying that really resonates with you?
I love reading quotes from great philosophers, and the educational quote that resonates with me most is Confucius's Chinese proverb “I hear I forget, I see I remember, I do and I understand”. This links nicely with experiential learning, which I believe is the best type of learning.
Do you have a most memorable teacher moment?
A few years ago, it was my then Year 6 class's last ever Primary School sports day. As a sporty and competitive class, they were forever arguing about football, who was the fastest, the strongest and so forth. There were a small number of children in the class who weren't really into sports, one of whom was a boy who struggled with asthma and had low self-esteem, particularly with sport and PE.
During the eagerly awaited showcase event, the Year 6 distance race, something odd happened. Firstly, the students had persuaded the boy to take part in the race, and then to my surprise, I noticed that during the race, all the others had decided to walk it with him.
During the last 100 metres they then let him sprint ahead and win the race, to a standing ovation from every parent present and the odd tear shed by staff. The boy won his first gold medal and helped his team win sports day, while the competitive group of boys walked through in last place.
Moments like this are a reminder that teaching and working in schools and being around children is such a privilege.