joanna nicol Second in Department - Modern Foreign Languages
I joined the school in 2012 after teaching in the west of Glasgow, and was keen to come back to Edinburgh where I grew up. I qualified as a French and Spanish teacher from Moray House, and although I was initially appointed to teach Spanish, I am pleased to now teach both languages plus EAL (English as an additional language).
Since joining the school, I have enjoyed a huge amount of freedom in the classroom to teach the way I want, and the way that best suits my learners. This keeps things fun and interesting for me and them, and means I can easily incorporate up to date pedagogy into my work.
Outside of the classroom, what really makes Merchiston unique is the range of experiences on offer, and the fact that everyone is involved in the delivery of these. The school week is full-on for both staff and students and there is a huge amount of variety in any given day. It means that from one day to the next I can go from teaching French to hillwalking, coaching squash to tutoring Spanish, or supervising the boarding house to attending the opera! So much of this job takes part outside of the classroom, and really helps staff and students develop strong, meaningful relationships which are quite unique compared to other schools I have been involved with.
I love all things language-related and am currently taking Italian evening classes. I also recently passed the Level 2 wine tasting qualification and am working towards the level 3 exam. I am a fitness enthusiast and, amongst other things, try to fit in at least 3 trips to the pool each week, along with running, spinning, yoga or my latest discovery - ((BOUNCE))!
I was delighted to be promoted to Second in Department in 2018, as this has allowed me to have more input into what we teach and how we go about it. However, for me, this job is all about making connections and developing relationships. I couldn’t single out one specific moment or person, but knowing that what I do can influence the outcomes and futures of the young people I teach is my greatest achievement.