Alastair Harden

Acting Head of Classics, Bedales

MA (Oxon), Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Christ Church, Oxford
MSt, Classical Archaeology, Christ Church, Oxford
PhD, Classics, University of Reading

What makes a good teacher at Bedales?

Trying to make classes as enjoyable as I would have liked them to be when I was at school! (I loved learning Greek at university, it was so much fun.) And showing students the potential of the subjects they are studying beyond what’s in the exam syllabus. But most of all, being able to empathise with the students.

What are you trying to encourage and instil in the students?

Diligence and open-mindedness, both inside and outside the classroom. I really believe that the skills they can learn in Classics will make their lives a lot richer, no matter what they choose to do outside school. I really hope that their sense of irony is nurtured in my classes as well.

What events and activities do you get involved with in the life of the school?

I love Outdoor Work and can’t wait to take advantage of the opportunity to grow some food and cook it with the students. I’m also looking forward to getting more involved with the musical side of the school: it’s a special sort of school that has a well-equipped Rock studio at its disposal.

In your opinion, what makes Bedales special?

Everything from the beautiful library, the outdoor spaces, the arts facilities and the warm attitude of the students and the staff. It’s a place that’s filled with light and colour.

What is your best memory of Bedales?

My first advent assembly was just spectacular: sitting among the students and watching such wonderful music was the perfect way to end a non-stop term of mad activity.

Who or what inspires you?

Paulo Mellet, the single most inspiring person I’ve ever encountered. He was an environmental activist who recently died of malaria in Brazil: look him up online to find out what an extraordinary person he was.

Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.

I’m a vice-president of the Oxford University Animal Ethics Society, and a consultant editor of the Journal of Animal Ethics.