We speak to Ian Clayton, Head of the International Stream and Deputy Headmaster, French International School.
What are some of the challenges being a Head?
The biggest challenge is being pulled in lots of different directions. In my role, everyone wants a piece of me. Unfortunately I can’t make everyone happy and that can be a challenge.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy developing teachers and students, having an impact on their lives. Seeing them develop and grow as people, I never forget it and neither do they.
What has been the most memorable event in your career?
Getting my first teaching job was a pretty funny and memorable experience. I didn’t really want the job so I didn’t put in much effort. I must have been very relaxed and confident because I got it! It was a tough school but a very rewarding role.
Did you always want to work in education?
No, I didn’t. I wanted to be a professional sportsman or musician. For a while corporate life looked attractive to me. But in my final year of University, I knew teaching was for me, it was the only thing I would do.
What do you like most about Hong Kong?
Everything really, it’s a magical place. If you could somehow bottle Hong Kong and sell it, you’d be a very wealthy person. It’s so dramatic and the scenery is beautiful. And of course the people too – they’re fantastic.
Do you have any hobbies?
I used to play a lot of sports. I spend more time now living vicariously through my children as they play sport. I do like to read and go to the cinema too.
Did you have a standout teacher when you were at school?
I had a couple of standout teachers. One I remember well is my history teacher, I became a history teacher partly because of him. He had a way with us that was great – he was interested in us but tough. He was assertive but not aggressive. Also he could take a joke and knew how to speak to big classes of kids. He was well respected by his students.
What’s the best advice you were given by a teacher?
‘Sit down and shut up Clayton!’ Which I did. Also, I was advised that art was not going to be my subject. The teacher told me to never pick up a paintbrush and I have followed those instructions.
What qualities do you value most in people?
Forgiveness and tolerance. These are amazing and difficult qualities to have, I don’t always have them. People like Nelson Mandela are such an inspiration, it’s hard to imagine you could forgive the person who has beaten you for years. That’s incredible and almost a super-human quality.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be able to play an instrument, I think going on tour would be fun.
What was your favourite subject at school?
History and lunch time. I loved playing football and cricket at lunch time.
Tell us a secret about yourself.
In an emergency, I might be able to land an airliner – if someone could talk me through it. It might be a bumpy landing!