Summer jobs and volunteering not only enriched Louise Moir’s time as a student, they influenced her future career choices.
|Degree Course||Bsc Physical Geography and Geology|
|Year of Graduation||1996|
Your time at the University
Edinburgh had always been my favourite city to visit as a teenager and I must admit I did not give a lot of attention to going anywhere else for university. I was, if I am honest, swayed by the fact that a lot of my good school friends were also heading to Edinburgh. However, as with most things university related, my best experiences were gained through the new friendships made through my flatmates and course peers.
My best memories come from the fieldtrips we experienced as part of my course at the Grant Institute,Geology building – when we still catch up the tales are often related to Cyprus or the coldest fieldtrip ever in Kinlochleven!
My favourite memories are all linked to the friends that I made, many of whom I still on a relatively regular basis. Graduation was an excellent day as were the photos we had taken outside the Grant Institute – exploding bottles of champagne ring a bell!
In my final year I decided to stay in Edinburgh for the summer as I was staying on to do my Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Teaching at Moray House. To earn my keep I worked for a care company and had one of the most interesting summers of my life. I cared for an elderly lady who had set up the Rudolf Steiner School in Edinburgh and had lived a very full and varied life. We talked for hours about her experiences and she turned what was sometimes a very mundane job into something from which I learnt a lot. At the same time I got to experience everything that Edinburgh has to offer in the summer and I would certainly recommend that you do it at some point in your career in Edinburgh. At the same time, in my final year, I took part in a scheme where Edinburgh University students went out to schools where there was not a great record of pupils going onto university. I think this is what made me think first of all about teaching and if I had not had that volunteering experience who knows…
I am really proud of what I have achieved and I have no doubt that Edinburgh University set me on the right path. In fact, the Head Teacher from my first teaching post told me that the reason he interviewed me was because I went to Edinburgh University!
Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University
I am currently Head Teacher of Mackie Academy in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. It is a secondary school of just under 1100 pupils and I have been there since August 2013. Prior to this I spent the previous 16 years teaching in England in a variety of schools in Lincolnshire and Peterborough. My first school was a grammar school which was great for learning to teach and I got lots of experience at A Level. I then moved over to Peterborough for a promoted post (Head of Geography) at a top state secondary. I was incredibly lucky to experience great leadership at this school which gave me lots of opportunities to advance to the senior leadership team at a relatively early stage of my career. I am quite certain that if I had not had these chances I would not be where I am today. What is it they say? To be a great leader you have to experience great leadership. I definitely think I have been lucky enough to do that.
Finally, in 2007, I had the opportunity to be part of a three-school merger in Peterborough into one of Labour’s flagship Academies projects – the Thomas Deacon Academy. We moved into a purpose built campus for 2200 pupils designed by famed architect Norman Forster. It has been the most challenging thing I have ever done and there were times when I thought it would drive me mad but, again, the experiences were life defining. During my time there, I worked my way up the role of Vice-Principal and gained my National Professional Qualification for Headship. I always knew at some point I would return north to Scotland so when changes were happening in Peterborough I made the decision to “move back north”. I have not regretted the move for one moment because, if there is one thing I learnt from my time at Edinburgh, it is that Scotland really does provide a different way of life and one which perhaps “adds value”.
I am really proud of what I have achieved and I have no doubt that Edinburgh University set me on the right path. In fact, the Head Teacher from my first teaching post told me that the reason he interviewed me was because I went to Edinburgh University! The lifestyle provided to me in Aberdeenshire is completely different to what I had south of the border, which is good, as it saves you making comparisons. I don’t regret any of the moves I have made in my career and look forward to the challenges of the future.
Make sure that you grasp all the different opportunities provided to you by the university. I look back and know there is so much more I could have done and should have done. You only get one chance – make the most of it because it will be life defining.