The Howard Partnership Trust

60 seconds with... James Baker, Principal of Howard of Effingham School

We sat down with James Baker to hear more about what lead him into education and his hopes and aspirations for the young people he works with.

Q: Why did you get into teaching?
A: I come from a family of teachers, and when I was growing up I was always involved in teaching others in one way or another. At secondary school, I used to work at the Extra Tuition Centre tutoring younger students in Maths and English, and I would also help out at a local Scout Group. While at University in London, I spent Saturday mornings tutoring in Woolwich.  During my summer holidays I worked at International Summer Schools with students from China.

On a personal level, whilst at secondary school, I was inspired by my Director of Music with a passion and interest in music which has stayed with me to this day. If it were not for him, many of the opportunities which I have benefited from in life just would not have been possible. In becoming a teacher, I hope that I have been able to provide others with similar opportunities.

Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: Being a Principal is a huge privilege, and there is certainly never a dull day! I most enjoy getting out and about in the school, seeing students in lessons, and congratulating and rewarding students on their achievements. I also enjoy supporting colleagues in their own development and, hopefully, inspiring the leaders of the future.

Q: What keeps you going when it feels tough?
A:You can often come to work thinking that the challenges are just too great, but that quickly changes.  A conversation with a student about the show they were in at the weekend, or bumping into a colleague in the corridor and hearing the success they are having with a particularly difficult class always makes you feel better. It gives you a sense of perspective.

Q: If you had one wish for every child or young person, what would it be?
A: I just hope that through their experiences and opportunities at school, every student can gain an interest in something which will remain with them and sustain them in life – whether it is something which ultimately leads to a particular career, or something which becomes their love or passion in their spare time.