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Interview with Mr Menzies-Wilson

from Flourish, Spring 2022 pt.2

Firstly, for anyone who doesn’t know you, can you introduce yourself?

I’m Mr Menzies-Wilson, I am the DT Technician at the school, and I also teach some physics!


What do you like about SHHS so far?

I really like the number of creatives that we do, I think that the fact that we have access to art, DT, and music but so much through KS3 is really cool. It’s not something I had at my school, and I think it’s a really exciting part of the curriculum.


Anything you don’t like?

Tricky question, kind of thing you get asked in a job interview... being asked tricky questions that I can't answer!


So, you’re training to be a teacher, what’s that like? 

It’s interesting having been through the school system, looking behind the curtain at what it’s like to teach, it’s been fun, it’s been incredibly rewarding. I really like the high energy in a classroom, it's fun when ideas are pinging around – that’s really cool. We had a lesson on penguins that one of my Year 7 classrooms got really excited about – just the concept of penguins huddling about – they were so sweet. 


Do you have a favourite part about physics?

Good question, my background is engineering, so I think medical machines are really cool, MRI scanners or X-rays. It’s astonishing how much we can know about the body without cutting it open, all of its external systems that you can see the internal side of. My favourite example is you can see images using an MRI scanner of a beating heart, in a resolution detailed enough that you can see valves – it’s really cool.


Is there anything about the subject you wish was taught that isn’t?

I would love to have been hands on with cars or other mechanical machines that fuse DT and physics together. There currently isn’t the space for it in the curriculum but I think learning through practical application would be amazing.


Obviously, your other subject is DT – is there a project you’d like to do in the workshop?

I mean I love the days that I’m hands-on, helping out in the workshop, they’re wonderful. When you have a class full of Year 7s chopping up pieces of wood to make joints, it's so much fun and watching the learning process through the physical – holding a saw or a piece of wood like: ‘I know this, I can work it out,’ it's really fun.

At home I'm building a camper van; at the moment, it’s very early stages so it’s currently a shell but it's in the process of becoming a camper. I've just cut the holes in the wall for the windows. That project oscillates in how much fun it is, there are points where you can't solve a problem and it's the worst, or days where you don’t understand, and some when suddenly the clouds part, you fix something, and everything is wonderful again. I think that’s kind of the nature of DT a bit. 


A bit random, but do you have a favourite tool in the workshop?

Hahaha! Probably… a sharp pencil. I think from the design side it’s all about using pencils to design and then when you get into the tool side of things accurate manufacturing and fabrication – without a sharp pencil it’s game over. The back of my ear has a ghost pencil there, it always feels like I have one and when I don’t, I can feel it!


Either in DT or physics is there anything you really want to learn, or do you feel you’ve got a pretty good basis?

Always, yes. I think learning doesn’t stop at school. I suppose I’ve got two goals: having as much fun as possible and learning new information. It’s exciting! Expertise is so specific and narrowed, it means you’re never an expert in almost everything. There’s always so much to learn.


You’re doing singing in the Grade One Challenge, how’s that coming along?

Martha’s a natural teacher, she’s exceptional, an amazing singer. We’ve just about got past the stage of her playing a note and having to tell me whether to sing up or down... just…maybe. It’s still progress! It’s been really fun; I cannot speak more highly of her as a teacher.


Finally, any messages for the school or favourite bits of it?

Can’t think of a message but the lunch time bread. You know, the chef gets here at 5 every morning to make that – that's pretty cool. 


Interview carried out by Ruby, Y12

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