51 Questions with Soon-to-be Primary School Teacher Harriet Dismorr

“I just encompass the notion that everyone should treat everyone else how they’d want to be treated. Be kind to nature and humans. In an ideal world.. if you sew the seeds of goodness then you’ll reap the rewards. Hopefully.”

Sometimes, I’ll do an interview and that person will come up with such an amazing, ridiculous, hilarious answer – that I would never have expected- I’m left just laughing my head off, pleased to have asked the question.

This was one of those interviews.

And I’m sure the answer I’m referring to will soon be obvious.

I’ve known Harriet Dismorr – or Dizzy as most of her friends know her as – since we were sixteen. We met in school and she’s such a joyful, warm, friendly person; I felt like I could call her a friend really quite quickly after our first meeting. As you might say others walked, she sort of buzzed around, like a bumblebee, – but a lot less insect and a lot more colourful – emitting this magnetic positive energy, a cheerfulness, and always a beautiful smile.

Dizzy is a wonderful friend to me and a loyal Aunty to Maia, stopping by every few months to say hello, (and listen to my rants). She’s also incredibly generous, buying countless gifts from dresses to blankets and I clearly remember baby massage oil when she was tiny. I’m still thrilled with the beautiful portrait she painted of Maia for her first birthday.

Currently at University training to be a Primary School Teacher, Dizzy is also a talented Jazz singer, performing in Jazz sessions at various venues from time to time. She also loves getting creative; drawing, painting and knitting the stresses of the day away.

I was very thankful that – after spending most of the day in the University library- she was able to stop by to let me quiz her over cream crackers and tea.

1. Describe yourself in three words:
Talkative, a worrier, non-judgemental

2. How’s your day? What have you been up to? 
My day has been long. It took one and a half hours to get to university. I’m currently writing a maths assignment on pedagogy..a lot of hours spent in the library.

3. What does your typical day look like?
I wake up at 6:30, then I have a cup of tea, and I talk to my cats, then I go to Uni until 5, then I go home, drink tea and do some knitting.

4. What are you knitting?
I’m knitting gloves for my friends at Uni..

5. What have you learnt from the children you’ve worked with?
Anything can happen. You’ve got to see a lot of different situations from a lot of different perspectives, including a child’s perspective. That they really do look up to adults no matter what. You’re like the shepherd to the flock!

6. How do you unwind at the end of the day? 
I go to the gym.

7. What do you say to yourself to keep positive?
You can do it girl! Then I listen to Respect by Aretha Franklin.

8. Who is your biggest inspiration? 
My mother is one of the strongest people I know and a great role model. Her work ethic is incredible, she’s done a lot to support all of the family.
My biggest inspiration is myself in the future, what I’m going to be in the future.

9. What are you most grateful for? 
My family and unconditional love from friends and my pets. All the things I may complain about that would be a dream come true to people in third world countries.

10. What makes you so angry you can’t think about it for too long?
Animal abuse. The exploitation of animals for their resources.

11. What would you tell your 15 year old self? 
Stop trying so hard to please others. Stop trying to be someone else just to put yourself in a different light.

12. What would be your dream career or careers? 
Being a luxury hotel and cruise reviewer for Trip Advisor or Voyage Prive.
A successful jazz artist. To be known as the next Amy Winehouse (purely for voice not for her drug abuse..)
I’d love to be a radio presenter maybe for Radio 2 or Jazz FM, you get to meet lots of different people and talk about lots of different things.
If it was possible I’d love to be a teacher who’s also an air hostess, if there was a teacher-air hostess who taught kids whilst on a plane whilst they were on holiday.

13. Do you love flying?
I’m fascinated with air-planes. I hate flying, I love air-planes I think they’re amazing!

14. What are you currently doing to work towards your dream?
I sing sometimes at some jazz places. I am a Level 3 Badge on Trip Advisor, I enjoy reviewing hotels.

15. How was this idea born?
I was brought up in quite a musical family, my Mother’s side was very into classical music whilst my Dad loves the rat pack.. Frank Sinatra etc. My grandma was my music teacher, I used to have piano lessons with her every week, that’s why I have my tattoo.*

*Of a musical note. 

16. Any advice for people wanting to go into teaching?
Read about it! Don’t do it because you like the idea, you really need to know what you’re letting yourself in for, it’s not easy at all. Work as a teaching assistant for as long as you can first.

17. If you could be one person for the day who would it be?
Mila Kunis

18. What is your favourite bit of life advice/quote/something you live by?
Take each day as it comes.

19. Any general life advice to younger people?
Don’t try and please everyone. Be yourself because you’re only stuck in one body and you will know who your true friends are, the ones who take you as you are. Take calculated risks.

20. When are you happiest? 
When I’m singing or skiing.

21. One of the happiest days of your life?
Probably when I was in Costa Rica. Just the weekends in Costa Rica. Surfing and sitting on the beach drinking cocktails and practicing Spanish.

22. Make up a lie about yourself right now, and a story too.
I used to be six foot tall and then my mum put the hoover too close to me and sucked half my legs off.

23. What are three things you took from your University experience? 
Being my own individual creative self. I’ve become a lot more organised. I’ve always been really good at interacting with people but I think I’m even better now.

24. What are the best things about living in the countryside?
Looking out your window and seeing rolling hills. Walking your dog and not seeing anyone.

25. Any bad habits that you’re currently trying to work on? 
Playing with my hair. Being a pessimist. Not cleaning the inside of my car enough.

26. One thing you love about yourself?
Being very personable. I’m a people person. I’m quite good at interacting with a massive range of people, probably down to teaching or my parents.

27. Best advice/guidance your parents gave you? 
Manners.

28. Your perfect day? 
Nice weather no hotter than 26 degrees. A nice walk – I don’t really mind where it is- with my family and then after lunch go skiing and eating really nice pasta then drinking red wine and listening to music on squishy sofas with good looking men. Then in the evening dinner surrounded by very good company, followed by a massive thunderstorm with the windows open. I just love thunderstorms. In Hong Kong I was the 47th floor during a lightning and thunderstorm, we could see the lightning across the skyline it was amazing.

29. If you lived in an alternative reality, having made different choices throughout your life, where would you be and what would you be doing?
I’d be a professional travel blogger, I’d have won a Euromillions scratchcard in order to pay for this lifestyle.

30. One experience you think has helped shape you as a person?
Having my Grandpa live with me for 15 years. I never knew anything different. I think it gave me a very different perspective on the elderly. I’ve been very lucky to have had the opportunity to live with someone from a different generation. I hate it when people take the mick out of the elderly when they have no idea what the elderly might be going through.

31. Three things you think about more than the average person?
Cats. I probably think I’m a failure more than the average person. The past, my past experiences.

32. Three things you’d change about the world?
The meat industry. The treatment of animals around the world. The treatment of humans around the world.

33. If you could change the British education system, what would you change?
I would change the whole assessment system I think a lot of children are learning for the purpose of the test rather than learning for the sole purpose of being a citizen of the world. I don’t believe in exams at the end of the year, I believe in continuous assessment because it’s important for everyone to see where they’re at, and from the teachers’ point of view to know if they’re doing okay.
A more creative curriculum. I think a lot of emphasis is put on the Maths, English and Science however for those children who aren’t naturally academic and more into their arts or sport for instance, I think children need to have that opportunity to thrive, to branch out and express what they want to express, how they want to express it in their own way.

34. If you were going to volunteer for any charitable organisation which one would you choose?
Something to do with mental health.

35. Do you have a favourite book?
My favourite children’s book is The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Tigers are my favourite animal. 
I enjoyed The Missing by C.L James

36. Favourite films?
Mrs Doubtfire. I do like Bridget Jones’ Diary. 

37. What are you watching on TV?
I am watching Strictly Come Dancing. – Good for wind downs on Saturday evening.
I do have a soft spot for Nothing to Declare.

38. What did you want to be when you were little?
Air hostess

39. What are three things you’d like to say you did before you die?
Travel all the continents. I want to have my best shot at being an amazing mother, grandma and family member. I want to be remembered as a really nice and good and honest person.

40. People you’d most like to meet?
Amy Winehouse,  Kit Harrington and Ellen Degeneres

41. If you could travel to any time or place where and when would it be?
I’d like to go to the middle of London on D-Day and VE Day, with all the street parties, good looking service men and dancing.. maybe for 15 minutes. I really like big band music, I love the war music.

42. Do you have a religion or spiritual practice?
I just encompass the notion that everyone should treat everyone else how they’d want to be treated. Be kind to nature and humans. In an ideal world.. if you sew the seeds of goodness then you’ll reap the rewards. Hopefully.

43. What are your biggest pet peeves about other people?
Being rude. Being inconsiderate of others. Being up your own ass. Being so self centred in your own imaginary greatness that you have no time to actually truthfully consider how other people are.

44. What is your proudest achievement? 
Being head girl at Bradfield.

45. What is your fondest memory from school?
Upper sixth at Bradfield college, I loved every second of it, I was doing subjects I actually enjoyed, I had a great relationships with my teachers and peers.

46. What do you worry most about?
That I’m not good enough in the eyes of other people.

47. If you won £1,000,000 what would you do? Would you change your life?
No because it’s not that much in the bigger picture. It would probably help in securing a house somewhere. I’d put the rest into shares!

48. What’s one thing you wish you knew how to do?
I’d really like to be a good drummer!

49. Five things that bring you joy?
Kindness from other people. My pets. My family and friends. Food. Having a good time.

50. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d love to have some children, hopefully I’ll be sitting around a nice dining table with some children and a nice husband or partner eating spaghetti bolognese.

51. What is happiness?
Feeling at ease with oneself.

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