“So often you find that the pupils you’re trying to inspire are the ones that end up inspiring you.”
Lee Whitley, from Lossiemouth originally wanted to pursue a career in drama, however, latterly she decided she wanted to become a maths teacher instead…
After completing her sixth year at Lossiemouth High School, Lee went to dance college at Lossie Entertainment Academy. After completing her first year, she decided to move down to Edinburgh where she undertook an HNC in Musical Theatre at Edinburgh Telford College.
Upon completing her HNC, Lee then went to Glasgow University to do a joint degree in Maths and Drama. At the time Lee loved both subjects so this was a perfect degree for her to take. Lee said,
“I knew I wanted to be a teacher once I started university but at that point, I still wanted to study drama. I had always wanted to work in theatre, but the on-stage life was very stressful and I liked the stability of knowing what salary I would have each month. Constant auditions were stressful, not knowing if you had a job or not and so I opted for teaching because of the stability of a regular income.
I really wanted to become dual qualified in both maths and drama to allow me to teach both, however this wasn’t an option and therefore, so I chose to pursue maths. I really loved both, but I knew there would be opportunities to do drama activities outside of being a maths teacher and there was a higher demand for maths teachers.”
Lee then went on to complete her PGDE at Aberdeen University to become a maths teacher. With this course she had to undertake work placements in a school. Lee said,
“I knew I had made the right decision in becoming a maths teacher as I could use my theatrical skills to my advantage, as they helped me connect with the students.”
Once Lee completed her PGDE at Aberdeen University, her husband received a job opportunity in Norway. The couple decided to move to Norway which meant that Lee couldn’t complete her probationary year. However, there was an alternative option available as Lee was able to take the flexible route for completing her probationary year.
There was only one English speaking school in the area she was moving to so there was no guarantee that there was going to be a job for Lee. However, after receiving a tour around the International School of Stavanger, Lee was offered a post. A position then became available in the maths department which Lee then applied for and was successful. 2 years on, Lee and her husband decided to move back to Moray. Lee said,
“I’m originally from Moray so I was delighted to be coming home. Moray is such a homely place and definitely a fantastic place to bring up a child.”
Upon moving home, Lee took up a maths post at Keith Grammar School and then in 2017, moved on to Elgin High School and has been there ever since. Lee said,
“One of my favourite things about my job is watching the children improve in their learning and grow as young adults. Being able to interact with young people all day is great and I really love it.
I would say that if you are considering becoming a teacher, then you must be patient and have an enthusiastic attitude. Shadowing teachers and asking questions/receiving guidance and/or advice from other colleagues is the best thing to do. If you are still in school and are thinking about teaching, work hard at National 5 English and Maths but remember you can always study these qualifications in college after school if you need too. Never give up on your dreams – I certainly didn’t!”