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The High School Low Down with...Mrs Muir

Mrs Janet Muir has been an English Teacher at the Senior School for over two decades, before any of our current pupils were even born!

We will be saying a fond farewell to Mrs Muir at the end of this session in June as she retires.

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Give us the low down: what was your path to the High School?

I didn’t originally intend to apply to the High School: the Rector at the time, Dr Easton, phoned me at home out of the blue and offered me full-time maternity cover. (I had met his wife doing supply work locally so that was how he knew who I was.) I said no thank you as I had all the work I wanted - two/three days a week - in the school adjacent to my kids’ primary. No travelling; almost no childcare. Ideal.

When Dr Easton called back the next day and asked if I would come in for four days a week, I again said no. When he phoned the third day and asked if I would come and see the place and take on just three days a week, I agreed to visit. I was immediately impressed by the great relationships between staff and pupils and took up the temporary post.

After six or seven years, a permanent full-time job became available. My children were now more independent and I applied for that post. No pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes in that interview – they knew me too well!
 

When did you know teaching was your calling?

I didn’t know it was my calling until I was in front of a class – and loving it. I only applied for teaching because I thought it might take me abroad to Africa (totally unrealistic – my skin burns in moonlight).

I think if one of our careers staff had seen my application for teacher training, however, they would have wondered how I could be so blind. I didn’t need to manufacture any work experience: I had spent every holiday since I was 16 doing children’s and youth work in church halls, on SU camps, on housing estates, on beaches in the north of Scotland and in language schools in the south of England. I had taught Sunday School every weekend for years in Yorkhill Children’s Hospital. I think the signs that I should be a teacher were writ loud and clear, and if I had my time over, I would do it all again!
 

Tell us your biggest highlight at the High School so far?

The unexpected highlight of my time at the High School has to be singing The Messiah with the Senior Choir on stage in the Royal Albert Hall. Thank you so much for the opportunity, Mrs Stuart and the Music Department.
 

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Creative. Passionate. A mum.
 

If you could take one movie or song to a desert island, what would it be and why?

I would have to take 'The Messiah' – with the sheet music so I could spend the lonely weeks learning all of the parts. Perhaps I could sing that heavenly music loud enough to scare away Jack Merridew and his savages if they were skulking around!
 

What book would you take to a desert island and why?

I would take The Bible – an amazing library of 66 books of different genres in one volume. While I have been privileged to study and teach great literature, it is the book that means the most to me.
 

Who or what inspires you most and why?

My children. I'm proud that they have all chosen jobs where they daily offer love, patience and help to people who need a bit extra. They are examples to follow and when I grow up, I would like to be like them.

Of course, my borrowed children at School have also been a great influence on me – especially through their all too persuasive essays! Thanks to one advocate of animal rights I am almost a vegetarian, and to another young Greta, I recycle more faithfully than I used to!
 

What’s one thing you hope to never forget?

How to use the apostrophe.
 

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to someone?

Talk it over.
 

And finally, give us your low down of the High School

I know the great work our pupils can achieve in English and I know what great friends I have in the staffroom but when I spy on them in other places, I am so impressed by what else I learn about them.

Looking after the teachers-in-training for half of my time in School, I had a free pass to visit all departments. In classes, in lunch-hours and after four o’clock I would be wide-eyed at the range of activities in which my pupils were becoming skilled and the professional expertise of my colleagues. Both groups are talented and committed and if you nosy into classrooms and the drama studio and the science labs and music rooms and HFT and the art room and the library and out onto the pitches you will smell, hear and witness Scottish education at its most exciting, varied and dynamic. Book your tour now!