‘After my interview, I thought there was little chance I’d been appointed but I was delighted to get back home to Greenock to hear the phone ringing! This was 1999. I started just in time to see the final all-girl year group in the school. Becoming a co-educational school in the 90’s was a landmark moment for Wellington.
What do you love most about teaching, Leon?
The lightbulb moment! Be it a communal “ahhh – okay” from a class or a pupil quietly realising they’ve gotten the hang of a new part of the course. As the school’s Duke of Edinburgh Award Manager, both DofE and John Muir give me a chance to interact with pupils out of the classroom. This role brings with it a unique set of challenges and rewards which I really relish in addition to classroom based education.
I have to say I love being a form tutor and always become very attached to the form classes I have had over the years. Wellington form teachers tend to keep the same form tutor from S1 to S6 so you develop a relationship with every child both individually and as a class so it is always wonderful seeing them on stage for their final speech day. It is a unique experience to teach a pupil and later discover that they have pursued both your subject and career. For those who know the department, my colleague Mrs Welsh, was also one of my pupils.
Why did you become a teacher?
At university, I studied Industrial Chemistry but by my 3rd year I found the mathematics components of the course much more enjoyable. I kept thinking back to a Composite Functions lesson I had when I was in 5th year; my teacher was delivering the lesson and I remember thinking “I could explain that just as well as he did!” I took some advice from my mentors and tutors and that’s when I decided to become a teacher.