Fatima Rodrigues

Principal, The Hathaway Academy

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher… From the age of eight I used to sit my dolls and toys in rows while I taught them the lesson for the day. At that age what I didn’t know was what subject. However, after being inspired by Monsieur Moore at secondary school, I knew it had to be Languages. The other constant inspiration in my life were my parents. They left the sunny climes of Madeira in the late 1960’s and came to rainy London for work. Their mantra to me was always education will set you free…to live as you want, to travel the world and make new friends and of course to be who you really want to be. So, I was the first in my family of many cousins to go to university to study French and Spanish. I spent a year living abroad and travelled extensively but deep down I knew when it was time to return home to London and begin my teaching career. Teaching Languages opens the doors to people’s souls for as Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” My teaching journey has taken me from South London in 1991 to Grays in Thurrock in 2024 and throughout my time, be it as a teacher or as a Principal, I have always felt that the core element of my job is as a teacher in the classroom! We, teachers make the doctors, lawyers, emergency service staff, shopkeepers, footballers, music and film stars etc. for all young lives pass through our hands…children are and always will be the future. Therefore, teaching is undoubtedly the most important job in the world!