This week we talk to Mrs Jenny O'Bryan, Housemistress of Westal and Biology teacher. She is also Head of Equestrian and so runs the training and competitions for the College horse riders from Dressage, Show Jumping, Jumping with Style to Full on Eventing. In between these roles, Jenny also helps out with CCF.
What did you do before you came to College?
I was an Army Officer, then worked as Deputy Head of Operations and Administration for PA Consulting Group in London, before becoming a veterinary Practice Manager. After Charlie and Tom arrived, Ian and I started up a Thai restaurant which I ran after the children had gone to bed! Upon being bought out by the staff I spent some time in a school and loved it, so took a year out to do my PGCE. Luckily my second placement was at the King’s School, Worcester and they kindly offered me a job as a Biology teacher upon completion of my training. After a year, I was appointed Head of Year 7, then I made the trip down the M5 to College!
If you hadn’t become a teacher, what would you have done instead?
Well, I managed a pretty jam-packed career before becoming a teacher nearly nine years ago. I always knew I wanted to study how animals worked. Aged nine I was struggling to deliver a lamb, which was born with a congenital defect, where no skin had developed. This meant you could see all of the organs working for a while after he had been born - I was mesmerised. If I went back to making decisions again aged 14, I really wanted to be a vet, so I suspect that is your answer. I am also interested in politics and considered becoming an MP. When much younger, I would have loved to be a professional event rider. In fact ideally a combination of all three!
What is your favourite thing about College life?
The people here and singing loudly in Chapel (much to my children’s embarrassment)!
What are you reading at the moment?
I only get to read in the holidays really (with the notable exception of Horse and Hound!). My problem is I get so hooked on a good book that I can’t put it down and consequently nothing else gets done, which is not great with two hungry teenage boys to feed. Anyway, I am currently devouring The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
Other than your own, what was your favourite subject at school?
I actually took a few modules in Geography at University, particularly Physical Geography was another loved subject.
If you could be Prime Minister for the day, what is the first thing that you would do?
Gosh, only a day? I’d like far longer to cure everything! So if a long-term benign dictatorship was off the menu, you need money to do all of the worthy acts. So I would reform the tax system to a standardised 25% across the board and then everyone would pay and know where they stood! Then I could ensure all schools offered more team sports and physical exercise. This teaches much-needed team and leadership skills, and as we all know a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. One other thing, I would disable the internet on mobiles, laptops and iPads so everyone could get an undisturbed night of sleep!