A bit about me – Bob Foster
What can I say about myself? I was born in Bristol, UK, where I still live. I’m single and have a daughter, 23, who graduated with a first and is now planning a Grand Tour. I have two brothers and two sisters, all living close by.
I went to a local comprehensive school, Henbury, before doing a degree in Microbiology at Bristol University. I’ve always been a scientist at heart and assumed that I would get into science research. But it didn’t turn out well for me and I changed direction. I felt that I needed to get ‘out in the world’ and meet a greater variety of people, so I moved to London and worked for a variety of companies with different roles.
After this experience, I moved back to Bristol and worked for a company called Energy Services, that was a fund-raising part of Friends of the Earth. This was lots of fun, and I learnt about sales, management and working in a team. Unfortunately, when loft insulation grants were stopped, we couldn’t make a profit, so that project finished.
I look some time off to cycle around Europe – particularly around the Alps – before coming back to Bristol. After working for a year or so as a computer programmer, I set up as a private tutor. At first, this was part time. I also worked for an educational publisher (Dorling Kindersley) and a local ecological consultancy, which involved analytical work back in the labs at Bristol University. It was here that I realised just how much science, or rather being a scientist, had changed since I graduated. There were no secure jobs and my past colleagues and tutors were spending lots of time just applying for grants in order to stay employed. So, maybe I’m better off out of academic science!
In 2000, I qualified as a personal development coach (Lifecoach), helping people to figure out what they want to do in life and how to achieve it. These coaching skills have proved very useful in helping teenagers to set education goals and create good learning and study habits. I also worked with experts in the field of accelerated learning and use many of the ideas in my own tutoring.
Now I’m focused on two areas – firstly, how to do more for my students, enabling them to reach their full potential, and secondly, developing my hobby of photography. So I like to get out and about, visiting interesting places and meeting with many like-minded people. I am also chair of the Bristol & Bath branch of the British Science Association, helping to organise local science events for the public.
So, my ‘career’ could not differ more from that of my father, who started as an office boy at 14 and worked his way up to finance director before retiring early. I can’t see myself retiring!