Name: Michael Willis

Job Title: Head of Modern Foreign Languages

Date you joined the School? September 2021

What do you do at Bethany?
I am Head of Languages – teaching French in Y7 up to VI form.

What did you do before you came to Bethany?
I’ve taught for over 20 years including in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Yorkshire (where I’m from), Tanzania and France. Immediately before Bethany, I was teaching at an academy in Hemel Hempstead.

What is your favourite novel/music/artist/film?
Favourite book – hands down – Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Aktinson. It’s set in York which is 20 minutes from where I’m from and includes my favourite line from any novel I’ve ever read: ‘Bunty thought shop-bought cakes were the epitome of house-wifish sluttery!’

Favourite music – Musicals or Mozart

Favourite tv show – The West Wing – a seven series blockbuster about life in the White House.

What is your favourite quotation and why?
Apart from the one above…I’d have to say St. Julian of Norwich who said “all will be well and all manner of things will be well.” Things tend to turn out alright in the end. If it’s not alright – it’s not the end!

What was your favourite subject at School and why?
Perhaps unsurprisingly – French. I had an amazing French teacher and she’s one reason I became a teacher. I was also good at maths.

Why do you like working at Bethany?
From the first day I arrived at interview, my overriding impression was that everyone was very happy to be here. It’s a very special place and I’ve only just started to discover a tiny proportion of the reasons why people enjoy working and studying here.

What interests do you have outside Bethany?
I love nothing more than sitting and watching tv. I also attend my local church, love getting out and about and discovering new and interesting places. During the holidays, I try to visit new countries and cities.

What is your favourite colour and why?
Grey! No explanation needed!

What’s your favourite childhood memory? 
Being a twin (and the younger one) I always got to spend my birthday together with my brother. And being from a family of four boys, there was always something exciting going on where one or all of us would get into trouble. But I’d have to say caravanning holidays with family and relatives were a firm favourite.

If you were not doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing?
Possibly directing plays or musicals somewhere. I fell into it while I was working in Tanzania and the school needed someone to take over directing a show at short notice. I’ve done some brilliant productions and I love putting in the work and seeing what effort, dedication and talent can bring. The best part is watching the fruits of your labours and knowing it’s all come together.