Teacher Rhianna Tweedie talks football, travelling from home to study and how the past year has reinforced her committment to teaching and the wellbeing of her students.
Bachelor of Education: Primary
|Year of graduation||2013|
At the moment
I am currently a principal teacher based across 2 primary schools in West Fife, with classroom teaching, support for learning and management responsibilities. I also play football part-time for St Johnstone and enjoy running in my free time.
Your time at the University
Since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a primary or PE teacher. My mum managed a playground in my home town so I often volunteered there supporting children in the Early Years setting.
I began university at 17 after taking a year out in my 6th year to work and gain some experience volunteering in different schools across Fife and Edinburgh. I wanted to broaden my understanding of how the Scottish education system worked and gained valuable experience in both state and private education settings.
I was playing football for Dunfermline Athletic FC at the time of joining university and had a secure part-time job so I decided to stay at home and travel to and from campus. I met many friends who also travelled each day from Fife ensuring the journeys were fun and entertaining!
Moray House campus appealed greatly to me as it had a fantastic reputation for both education and sport.
I joined the University’s football team during my first year ensuring I met friends across different year groups and courses. Not only did we travel across Britain playing football, but we also made sure we made the most of our time in Edinburgh especially Wednesday nights out and Varsity events. There was a real sense of family among the team and the experiences and friendships I developed through football will remain an everlasting memory of my time at Edinburgh University.
Your experiences since leaving the University
After leaving university I went straight into teaching a composite P3/4 class for my probation year. This was a very positive experience for me and set me in good stead for teaching a multi-composite P1-4 class the following year at a smaller primary school within the same cluster. I have remained at this school which has continued to grow in size over the past 6 years and am now the principal teacher across this and a neighbouring primary school. This position has allowed me to continue to teach each week but also lead areas of school and staff development including a partnership with Strathclyde University and their Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools.
This partnership requires me to act as the Mandarin development officer for Fife Primary schools where I plan, promote and deliver stimulating lessons around the language and culture through our Chinese Exchange Teacher that I mentor and support. This responsibility has enabled me to develop my own appreciation for the importance of teaching the Chinese language and culture in Scottish schools after attending a 2 week trip to Tianjin University and our partner school in China.
Engaging in continual lifelong learning is very important to me especially within my career. Over the past few years I have embarked on further learning experiences to develop my leadership skills, most recently enrolling in Edinburgh University’s Master's programme in Leadership and Learning. I am just about to begin year 2 and I am welcoming the opportunity to be back on-site learning alongside my current job.
It has made me realise more than ever the role schools and their staff play in not only educating children but providing care and compassion to ensure the emotional, social, mental and physical wellbeing of our whole school community including children, their families and school partners. Personally, it has made me more determined than ever to ensure I excel in my profession but also to make my family, friends and own wellbeing a priority ensuring a better work-life-fitness balance than I had before the pandemic. I was very guilty of trying to do ‘too much’ between working, playing football, going to the gym, attending meetings, seeing as many people as I could at the weekend and after work but I realise now the importance of prioritising responsibilities and commitments to ensure my own positive mental and physical wellbeing.
Enjoy every second of your university experience and don’t put too much pressure on yourself! Join a club, explore the city and above all else, find happiness in yourself and everything you do. The informal lessons you learn at university such as learning about yourself as a person is just as important as the skills and learning you will embark upon for your future career.