My English student is doing a project where they write a profile of a person from an interview they conduct. God only knows why, but she chose me and so I thought I'd share the interview results. Enjoy ;)
1. What are you plans for the future?
I want to get my Masters, and finish writing the books I am working on, and then hopefully get them published so the world at large can read my work, and hopefully they can make people think or feel something, then I could have an impact on people's lives. Having a positive impact on others lives is my main goal, above and beyond any career goals, career is not something that is important to me.
2. What are strengths and weaknesses?
My main strengths are my intuition, generosity and loyalty, as well as my ability to use and understand the English language to a high degree. My weaknesses are probably my laziness... sometimes I just cant be bothered working hard or doing extra things that I don't have to. I also don't have a great deal of ambition in my career life, but instead I have a lot of ambition for my personal life and the way I interact with other people. I can also procrastinate too much when things need to be done!
3. What are your biggest achievements in life?
Winning the Rowan Kelly Memorial Prize for first at Westlake in English in 2003, getting First Division Honours this year. Completing writing 2 books. Mostly my biggest achievements are my friendships and relationships I have cultivated.
4. Where have you travelled to?
I have been to the following countries: New Zealand (both islands), Australia (Sydney, Gold Coast) , Fiji, New Caledonia, The United States (Los Angeles), England, Ireland, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.
5. How would you describe yourself to a person who didn't know you?
I'm an introverted person who likes spending time alone and thinking about life, philosophy and people. I can be difficult to get to know, but once you do I am loyal and generous. I don't care about money or material possessions and having a high paying job. I was born in Auckland and have lived here all of my life, I think music is the greatest invention humanity has ever come up with and love spending time listening to all kinds of music that most people wouldn't even know existed! I take pride in being someone that other people can come to for help and support.
6. What is your motto(s)
"Judge not lest ye be judged"
"I've never met a person on his death bed who told me that he wished he had spent more time at work"
7. Who is your inspiration and why?
Mahatma Gandhi. A spiritual teacher as well as a leader of men who never once used violence and managed to better the lives of the Indian people. Also the poet John Milton, Shakespeare and the musicians Daniel Gildenlow, Devin Townsend and Steve Hogarth.
8. When did you get involved with English?
When everybody else did I suppose, when they started teaching it to me in primary school! My Mum tells me that even back then, in Year 4 and 5 other students were always coming to me to have their spelling checked and for me to read their writing. I guess not much has changed in 17 years!
9. Do you prefer to work by yourself or with others?
I prefer to work by myself generally. I draw the most energy from my alone time, and it allows me to focus better creatively and to work at my own pace without pressure.
10. What made you choose this career path?
Well I didnt choose English because it would make me a lot of money!! I chose it because it would satisfy me as a person, and allow me to express myself in ways that other jobs wouldnt do.
11. What is your view on the future?
I dont tend to focus on the future too much. When the future comes along, I'll think about it. Until then I'll focus on now. I believe in myself that I will always have the ability to support myself and have a decent job that is enough to get me by in the world. Beyond that I dont really care.
12. When you were young who did you think you would become is it different to what you think today?
Oh it is HUGELY different!! When I was young I was obsessed with dinosaurs. I used to get out every last dinosaur book in every last library and memorise them off by heart. So of course, I was obsessed with becoming a paleontologist, so I could dig up dinosaur bones.
13. What do you do in your free time?
I listen to music mostly, read and write. This answer isnt very interesting, but then again neither is what I do in my free time!
14. How did you become so successful in english?
Oh dear lord, a question where I'm supposed to rant about how great I am. No thanks. I cant tell you how I became so successful at English because I honestly have no idea. For as long as I can remember I was just good at it, I understood how to express things that other people seemed to have to learn and practise. As the years went on I just seemed to flow through the levels without really having to put much aptitude into it. I know this isnt the best thing to say to my own English students, but it's true. I've never had to try hard to succeed in English, it comes naturally to me. Hopefully this means I can be an example to people who struggle and help them along. As for an explanation to why this is the case... all I can come up with is that maybe I was awesome at English in my past life and it has just carried over until now!
15. Do you believe in destiny/fate?
Oh, I didnt know this question was coming! You've really gone and done it now, because asking this question gives me permission to go on for days about it. Do I believe in destiny or fate? Yes, but NOT to the extent that you probably mean. I do not believe that every little aspect of our lives has been mapped out and we are just like little robots following along the path the same way every time. I believe we all have choice, but that in the end time is an illusion and thus everything that has ever happened and will ever happen is happening right now in this moment. We are just choosing which path we will experience right now, this time around when in all reality, all of the paths and possibilities have already happened and we just don't know it yet!
16. Do you see yourself as an inspiration in education for others?
Probably not. Because I can often be lackadaisical in my approach and I would not reccomend others try and copy what I have done, because although some can get away with it, some will fail and then they'll probably blame me. So work hard, and you can look up to my achievements if you must, but never copy my methods!!
17. What is your favourite country and why?
Ohh my favourite country?? Tough. In the end I'm forced to say New Zealand. Because we are out of the way, small, not very important and people can get on with their lives without the hustle and bustle and craziness of somewhere like urban U.S or London. Living here lets you find yourself without the distractions of the world.
18. Do you plan on doing your masters?
At this moment yes. If they accept my thesis proposal!
19. What motivated you to become who you are today?
These questions really make it seem like I'm some sort of big deal. I was motivated by my own dislike of the world I see around me. It is too materialistic, uncaring, unthinking and rigid. Therefore it has motivated me to attempt to be more spiritual, caring, contemplative and non judgemental so that I can redress the imbalance.
20. What would you do if you weren't doing English?
Probably History. Because it utilises similar skills to English and those are the skills I have. Not much else to say here.
21. What is the best present anyone has given you?
Interesting. And also tough to answer. I'm going to take it a different direction and say that the best present anyone has ever given me is deeming me worthy of their care, friendship and time. People get too obsessed with expensive material crap and forget the person that is giving it to them. Therefore I think the most important thing is that the person cares about you enough to give you a present at all. What it is is totally irrelevant.
22. Describe a time where you made the wrong choice?
Since this is personal I'm going to have to lie. But at least I'm honest about lying ;) A time when I made the wrong choice was speaking out loud nasty remarks about a teacher I didnt like, when that teacher happened to be standing right behind me. Ouch!
23. Who do you admire as a person?
Probably too many people to name. My friends and family mostly.
24. What do you plan to achieve in the future?
Absolutely nothing. Except for maybe a Masters and becoming a published author. Worldly achievements mean nothing to me ;)
25. Why English?
Yeah, I get that a lot. lol. Mostly because English is the only subject in the school curriculum that lets you bring even a tiny amount of yourself into the subject. Maths and Science are all about shutting up and doing what you're told. History is better, but still it's a bit like "this is what happened, these are the good guys and these are the bad guys the end". In English, if you think and feel a certain way about a text or a Shakespeare play or whatever, you are allowed to express that and can even be rewarded for original thinking and clarity of expression. Bottom line is, I don't like being told what to do and how to think and English gives me freedom.
26. What is your favourite childhood memory?
Probably my trip when I was 6 years old to England, Hawaii and L.A. I kept a diary about all the crazy stuff we did and reading it now is so funny because 6 year old me thinks about things far differently and in a hilarious way.
27.What challenges have you overcome in your life?
Not all that many I suppose. My parents getting divorced, which never really bothered me all that much anyway. Also recently, my Crohn's Disease. But mostly I think my biggest challenge has been to be who I want to be in a world that doesn't accept individuality or outside the box thinking.
28.What advice would you give to people who want to pursue in the career of English?
Make sure it's something that is in tune with who you are. Unless you are Stephanie Meyer or JK Rowling, English is most likely not going to lead to any huge financial rewards. Only do it if it gives you satisfaction and expresses who you are as a person, because those things are more important than money.
29.Why did you get into English?
I believe you will find I have answered this question above. ;)
30. What is your passion besides English?
Music. Music, music music. If I could have one talent bestowed upon me from God, I would ask for some form of musical ability. Music and literature to me are the height of human achievement in history and operate at a deeper level than the sciences or mathematics.