Staff Spotlight - Leanne King
Every week we feature a member of our staff in the Staff Spotlight! This week, we spoke to Science and PE teacher Leanne King about her teaching career.
What interested you in teaching?
I always knew that I wanted to be involved in sport and exercise, but was not sure in what capacity. I had a lot of positive influences from teachers and sports coaches at school, and I feel that those great role models in my life had a huge impact on me when it came to making my decision. I went to University in London and after my undergrad decided that PE Teaching was for me so went on to do my Post Grad. I feel that teaching is one of the only main professions where you can work with so many amazing young students, and make a real positive difference on their educational journey. I wanted to be able to give the students I teach the same rich experiences that I had at school.
Why is teaching your subjects exciting?
I love being a PE Teacher and feel that now more than ever, PE and Sport can play a huge impact in shaping young people's lives for the better. PE is a great platform to help with mental health, physical health and students' general wellness. I am passionate about my subject and my main aim is always for my students to learn, be challenged but most of all have fun. I have been lucky enough to teach in schools with outstanding facilities which really helps with the learning opportunities you can give your students. Now that Leaving Cert PE has finally been introduced in Ireland it enables more students to be able to follow their passions through the subject which is fantastic. Every student is different, they enjoy doing different things and I try to make sure in my subject that they will all find something that they enjoy doing and give them every opportunity to reach their true potential. I want to create an environment that students can look back on and remember for having worked hard, being challenged and enjoying themselves. That for me personally is what it’s about. I think Science and PE complement each other nicely, as well. It brings out that creativity and self-discovery.
Why did you choose to teach at Alex?
Having just come from teaching in a co-ed school I was absolutely certain that I wanted to be back in an all-girls school where especially, in my subject, you can be a positive influence in so many ways. Alex as a school appeals to me as I was drawn to the inclusive forward-thinking community striving to give the students all the opportunities to flourish ready for life beyond school. It’s the type of environment that I thrive in. Empowering girls to be more active in and through sport is my goal. I want to be able to champion the students and show them how important being active is not just physically but mentally. At Alex, the students are smart and hard-working with a real can-do attitude which is inspiring. I‘ve really enjoyed my first few weeks, the students and staff have all been very welcoming, so I’m really looking forward to getting to know all the students and staff over the coming year.
How have you adapted your teaching for Covid-19? Is there anything that you think you’ll continue in your teaching?
Teaching during Covid-19 was hard for both students and teachers, but if anything, it allowed huge creativity for teachers with their learning and how students can access and progress even when not face to face. I personally enjoyed having to be more dynamic and innovative with my teaching. I enjoyed using a mixture of learning platforms trying to get the best out of the students. We are really lucky that all the students have iPads at Alex and I have been able to incorporate more blended learning opportunities into my lessons.
What has been the highlight of your teaching career so far?
I’ve had many highlights during my career so far. I have been lucky enough to teach some amazing students who have gone on to have great success in various sports at regional international level. I feel the things that I am most proud of though is being able to introduce and provide my students with new sporting opportunities that they would not have otherwise had. Inspiring reluctant students to take up a new sport and have them commit to a healthier lifestyle beyond school is the win for me.