Maxine McNeill is a 29-year-old chemistry teacher, working at Bell Baxter High School in Fife. Maxine holds a degree in Forensic Science and a PDGE. She qualified in 2014 and has been teaching chemistry for five years. When she finished her degree, Maxine took a year out to consider what she wanted to do. Initially keen to get into forensics in the Police, there then made the decision to get into teaching when a friend suggested it to her.

I love my job and realise what an important role I’m in because I can really make a difference to young people’s lives. I work hard to inspire, lead and motivate all the students in a relevant way and hope that I nail it. A highlight of my career so far has been changing pupil’s perception and enjoyment of science. Many will start off saying they don’t like science then a few weeks into my class, I always get great feedback about how much they love it. It’s a good feeling.

“In this role, no two days are ever the same and I would encourage all undergraduates considering what they want to do to seriously look at teaching. It’s hard work but I thrive on the challenge that working with such a diverse range of pupils of different ages, backgrounds and abilities brings. Also, I feel like I have a great work/life balance and the holidays are brilliant, which means I can do a lot of travelling too”.

 

Maxine on being an Original Influencer

“It’s great to see this new research on teachers as it’s something my friends always say to me – that I’m the real influencer. It makes me laugh but it’s always struck a chord with me because it’s true in the sense that we have such a huge opportunity to change young people’s lives.

“So many of my students say that their goal is to be a YouTuber. I do my best to get them to keep it real. While we’re all about promoting goal setting and aiming high, I want them all to have a back-up plan. It would also be great if I could inspire some to get into teaching too. I feel a real sense of job satisfaction when students are keen to go onto study science further and ask me for advice”.

 

Maxine on her favourite teacher

“I had an amazing German teacher who was full of energy and great fun. She really got the class engaged but didn’t stand for any nonsense. I like to think I learnt a lot from her about leading a class in a motivating way.”

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