Craig Mills joined Cranbrook in 2012 as the Year 7 Science Teacher. With a diverse teaching background across multiple countries, and a ‘Freeman of the City of London award' under his belt, we were keen to learn more about what inspires and motivates Craig within the teaching profession.
What is the ‘Freeman of the City of London Award'?
From my early twenties, I have been helping at the Tower of London with charity events and evening events during which police officers from around the world would congregate at the Tower for various occasions. The award is by the Guild of Freeman/City of London and I was presented with a certificate in recognition of the work I'd been involved in. New freemen are enrolled in a ceremony in Guildhall, when they receive a guide to conducting their lives in an honourable fashion and an impressive sealed certificate. There are a number of rights traditionally associated with freemen—the right to drive sheep and cattle over London Bridge being one of the rather quirky ‘perks'. Over the last 300 years, about 300,000 people have been made Free of the City of London including J.K Rowling and Joanna Lumley!
Can you talk me through your career history to date?
During my degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology, I spent a year in Florida Quays working in an outdoor education setting, specifically relating to marine biology. I then left to return to complete my degree and teaching qualification. After which, I returned to Florida to continue working in marine biology, before returning to London to teach maths and science at an inner city comprehensive school for two years. Following that, I left the UK again and worked in Cairo and taught biology and chemistry to Year 7-13 students for three years. Returning to the UK I worked in another government school in London, as Head of Science, teaching children with a variety of specific learning difficulties, but more specifically those with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties for 5 years. This was a challenging yet ultimately very rewarding role. I joined Cranbrook in July 2012.
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
Students here really want to learn and that makes a huge difference. The other members of staff within science are really supportive and a fun team! Cranbrook is my first all-boys school and whilst this is a culture change, fundamentally students are the same here and overseas, co-ed or in single sex schools. The desire to learn and the willingness to try new things is so apparent in every school I've taught at and that is what keeps me motivated and working within the academic profession.
What would you say are your greatest achievements personally or professionally?
Completing my Masters in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy at the Tavistock and Portman Clinic in London has to be one of my greatest achievements. I have also achieved the Chartered London Teacher's Award (2011) having spent 5 years in a London school.
Who has inspired you in your career?
My uncle is a teacher so the teaching gene must be in the family! The Headmaster (John D'Abbro OBE) at the special needs school in Ilford, London was particularly inspiring. Even though he himself found school challenging, he worked hard to get the stage at where he is in his career. He showed both students and staff alike, that with determination and hard work, you can achieve goals. Also, a teaching assistant who I worked closely with also showed this same determination and drive, completing the same Masters as myself. She proved to many people that you can always achieve something, if you want to!
If you weren't in the academic profession, what would you be doing?
I would be a marine biologist and working on my PHD on the effects of tourism on coral.