Teacher Feature: James Mallinson
Video by Luke Rafferty, Production Editor
Interview by Mary Turocy, Features Editor
The SPOKE: Why do you like to wear bow ties?
J.M.: When I was in banking, we were expected to wear standard four-in-hand ties, so I couldn’t wear bow ties except on weekends. Now that I teach, I can do as I please.
TS: How did you start singing to your classes?
JM: One time a teacher suddenly got sick and I was called in at the last minute. It was a French teacher, and the teacher hadn’t left any plans. I remembered a song that I had been taught in third semester French, “La Bergère”—the one people usually call “The Cat Song”—and I tried to teach it to them, and that filled up the period. It wasn’t long before I was asked to sing. That was in ’96, and now every class hears about it.
TS: Describe yourself in one word.
TS: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
JM: The Queen, the late Queen Mother and the late Sir Winston Churchill. I’ve always admired the royal family and Churchill was always a hero.
TS: What do you like to do in your spare time?
JM: I’m active in a lot of organizations—veterans, military and patriotic organizations. I play bridge and go target shooting. I just started archery again. I haven’t shot bow and arrow since I was a kid, and I thought it would be fun to get started again.
TS: Can you tell me more about bridge?
JM: I started again a couple years ago. It’s a great social game—lots of fun. I don’t play for money or championship points or I’d lose my shirt. It’s just a lot of fun to get together with people and play.
TS: Can you tell me about your time in the military?
JM: I spent two years active, and the rest of my life practically in the reserves and National Guard. Before you ask, I never saw combat, and just had a good time basically. I spent six months in Virginia, seven months in the Panama Canal Zone, where I improved my Spanish, and 11 months in Philadelphia, living at home and commuting to work.
TS: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
JM: People who drive slowly in the left lane.
This article originally appeared on p. 17 of the March 28, 2011 issue of The Spoke.