My guest this week is Victoria Mullen, a University of Kent alumnus, who works as a school lay chaplain in Nottingham and whom I taught a decade ago. In this really insightful interview Victoria talks about how she went from managing a restaurant in Canterbury to studying Religious Studies and tells us how she ended up at Kent and what it was like to be interviewed by Robin Gill.
Victoria was born in Galway and moved to Kent in the late 1980s. We talk about accents, Victoria’s earliest memories, which pertain to her grandparents’ farm which she often returns to, perceptions of ageing and sexism, whether social media keeps us younger, and whether students are more grown up today than in previous generations.
Victoria also recounts her memories of going swimming in Canterbury and being obsessed with Robson & Jerome, and having a penchant for ‘geeky’ music. We talk about the influence of the charts and Victoria reveals the first song she bought, and we find out what happened when she saw Bucks Fizz performing with Keith & Orville, and seeing Shakin’ Stevens on stage at Glastonbury.
We learn that Victoria is a product of Catholic education and she talks about her experience of going to the ‘school of hard knocks’, and why for her teaching is a vocation and how there are some things that cannot be left at the school gates. We talk about the changes in school teaching over the years and how her pupils are very much teaching her, as well as about the differences between ‘O’ level and GCSE and different models of learning.
Victoria speaks about not studying religion from a faith angle and how she fell back in love with Catholic education, and how chaplaincy has changed in the last 5 years. Victoria also reveals why she found her first day at the University of Kent to be the first day of the rest of her life.
Then, in the final part of the interview, we learn why her memories are predominantly positive and Victoria talks about the notion of ‘how could we be forgiven if we didn’t sin?’, and what her younger self would think about what she is doing now.
Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and Victoria Mullen and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.