Hotseat: Hayley Maclaren

GEMS Wellington Academy teacher shares her memory of school


School: GEMS Wellington Academy Dubai Silicon Oasis

Job Title: Year 3 Teacher

Where did you go to school?
I grew up in a village called Old Kilpatrick in Scotland. I went to St Mary’s Primary school and then St Columba’s Secondary School.

What was your favourite subject?

My favourite subject at school was English. I loved writing stories and had some super English teachers. One particular teacher made writing so much fun - he was so encouraging and enthusiastic about the subject. It didn’t feel like learning, his lessons were so exciting and he really brought stories to life.

What was your least favourite?
My least favourite subject at school was Maths. I found it really difficult and dreaded those double maths lessons on a Monday morning. I remember everyone, particularly my Gran, telling me to always ‘stick in at maths’. I was one of those students who panicked on a Thursday because it was mental maths on a Friday. As I grew up , the less daunting maths became and now when I teach maths in my class I try to make it as stimulating and ‘fun’ as possible.

Did you have a favourite teacher?
I had lots of fantastic teachers when I was growing up but one in particular springs to mind. Everyone can remember that one teacher who made you feel special, who made you skip into school. For me, that was Mrs. Murray. She taught me in primary six and I can still remember some of the fantastic lessons in that classroom. It was my best year at Primary School.

Were you good or naughty?
When I was at school, particularly primary, I was very shy and quiet. The thought of being sent to our head teacher was enough to keep me in line.

What was the naughtiest thing you did at school?
Most of my naughtiness was saved for home when I could annoy and pester my older brother.

What’s your happiest memory from your school days?
My favourite memory from school is when we went on a trip to ‘Scotland Street School’. We were learning about the Victorians. The trip consisted of us dressing up like Victorian school children, along with our teachers and living the life of a Victorian school child for the day. I can remember my teacher at the time being so frightening, banging a cane on the desk. It is one of the most vivid memories I have from school. It was a fantastic way to learn – I loved it- it really brought the topic to life!

What about your worst one?
Growing up in Scotland, I, along with many others, remember the dreaded outdoor PE lessons. One in particular was a hockey lesson, in the middle of winter. It was freezing, raining, miserable… We were huddled together in our team trying to keep warm and had to play a whole game of hockey! My legs stung from the cold, and when the hockey puck hit any part of my body it was excruciating! Like I said, outdoor P.E., was a dreaded subject during the winter in Scotland. Forgetting my kit became a regular occurrence.

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