Every Friday we feature a member of our staff in our Staff Spotlight! This week, we spoke to Agricultural Science, Biology, Science and PE teacher and hockey coach Robin Le Quesne about his teaching career.
What interested you in teaching?
Way back when, as a youngster, I was always getting involved with the junior sections of my sports clubs and really enjoyed helping them progress. At the same time, I found I was learning a lot about the skills and games from them. I had some fantastic teachers and coaches who really showed how you could light up a subject where others weren’t able. They inspired enquiry and the desire to find out more in the classroom, be more skilful or astute on the sports field, but also cared about the person. When it came to picking the next step, teaching was the obvious choice. So I completed a degree in Education with Science and Physical Education at Liverpool John Moores University.
What makes teaching your subjects exciting for you?
I have always been fascinated by the world around me, how it fits together and how it works. I like how there is always another piece to the jigsaw. More to learn and discover. New and different ways to look at the same thing. In whatever I have done I have always wanted more to learn. Science, Biology, Agricultural Science and PE are all subjects that are constantly developing and providing new insights which makes them exciting for me to teach.
The excitement of teaching is similar for me. Every day the students will show you a different way of looking at something or ask a question you haven’t had before. They will challenge me in different ways to piece together the jigsaw and try to make sense of it for them. I love that challenge.
Why did you choose to join the Alex community?
Even before I moved to Ireland with my family I knew about Alex. My wife is an Old Alex girl and spoke highly of the school. When I was looking at my next career step, I wanted to find an employer with an ethos of development and empowerment through a holistic approach. I knew Alex ticked those boxes. I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to become one of the Alex community.
How have you adapted your teaching for Covid-19? Is there anything you’ve changed that you’ll keep doing going forward?
I started teaching in Ireland during Covid so there have been lots of new things to adapt to. I think the biggest changes driven by Covid have been the enforcement of digitisation. Some things like virtual experiments via online simulations may still help in revision but will never replace the experience gained from the hands-on experimentation. However, some of the tools and software that are available to support learning through digital media are incredible and will definitely remain.
What has been the highlight of your teaching career so far?
I don't dwell too much on the past. That's really not how my mind works. I like to deal with the present and relish the opportunity that tomorrow will bring. To give some context to my answer though, I made a choice a few years ago to take a job opportunity outside teaching in the telecommunications industry. It has certainly given me a different perspective which I don't underestimate. I learnt a lot of different skills from some great people and worked in an entirely different environment. Just before Covid a conversation with my wife included the question “....what job would you choose to do [within reason]?” The answer was teaching. I started the paperwork the next day and just over a year later I started at Alex. I genuinely believe I am blessed to have had an opportunity to return to a door that I arrived at too soon, and to have been supported to make the bold choice to switch back to my original career. That, for me, is one big highlight.