An Interview with Mr Marshall


Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I grew up in a small village in Somerset in South-west England, studied at a local school there, after which I went to study at Cambridge University. I then went on to teach at a few schools in London and also taught in Mexico for a couple of years.

What interested you to want to learn and pursue Psychology and Philosophy?

When I was a teenager, I read the book ‘Sophie’s World’, and that was the book that got me into philosophy as before I read that I never realised that people systematically studied these big interesting questions. Then, psychology became more and more interesting to me. Over time I actually realised that the topics I was most interested in related to the mind, the brain and our relations, our thoughts, beliefs and how our mind and brain work. I also really enjoyed psychology as it was nice to have something to properly talk about, as after studying a few years of philosophy if someone asked what I learnt one day, I couldn’t really give a proper answer as it is so complex to explain, but studying psychology made me realise that I can actually explain to people the interesting theories and studies I came across, and it was nice to have something a bit more empirical.

What made you want to become a teacher?

Well, partly because I simply did not want to give up on the subjects I spent five years studying, I wanted to stay in touch with them in some way. I always knew that I could enjoy teaching. For instance, I did some teaching during my gap year, and even some tennis coaching when I was younger, so I guess I always enjoyed the human contact that teaching involved, so I felt that this would be a good job for me.

If you were not a teacher, what do you think you would have been?

Probably a writer or novelist of some sort, maybe even a journalist.

What made you want to come and teach at Marymount?

Well, I taught in a few different schools with different sorts of profiles, and I wanted to ideally be teaching the IB curriculum again as I really enjoyed the psychology and TOK courses in it. I have taught in mixed schools, boys’ schools, and girls’ schools, and I realised that actually girls’ schools have a very nice atmosphere.

During your time here, what has been the most memorable/favourite event for you?

I actually really like the weekly assemblies, and I just think they are such a lovely sense of everyone coming together and there is so much positivity and love, as well as this sense of care and community. I think it is actually quite rare to have this in a school, the sense of people being genuinely happy to come together and share something good, so I really enjoy them.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Calm, positive, and maybe a little bit cynical.

What are your extracurricular interests and passions outside of teaching?

Mainly lots of different sports. I’ve been running and cycling a lot recently, and I enjoy playing badminton, football, cricket, volleyball- so basically any sporting activity!

Do you have a favourite book/movie/TV show? If so, which one?

My favourite book of all time is ‘In the Skin of a Lion’ by Michael Ondaatje. It is just about love really, and it has astonishingly beautiful poetic writing.

What is your favourite quote?

I’m not really one for quotes, but one of the most quotable philosophers, Ludwig Wittgenstein, wrote in the end of his first book with the line ‘whereof one cannot speak thereof one must remain silent’, and I think that is a line that has always resonated with me.