Our Head of Science Dave Meur is a Swedish-speaking biology teacher who was one of the first wave of students to major in ecology at university in Dundee.
What sparked the interest in ecology?
I had an inspirational lecturer with whom I did a research project in the lab. It got me interested. At the same time, the environment was becoming a big thing globally. It was good to study something that was current.
Why did you become a teacher?
Initially, I resisted because my mum wanted me to do it! I had some friends who needed help when they were studying and I realised I enjoyed helping them – I found it satisfying when they did well and passed. It’s nice to be able to help people.
What’s your favourite thing about teaching?
The people. I interact with lots of people every day – both students and colleagues – and talk about interesting things. The idea of sitting at a desk crunching through paperwork fills me with horror. The paperwork I do as a teacher feels like it has a direct purpose – planning a lesson or doing marking and getting instant feedback on what you’re doing.
Because of the elegant way that nature has solved so many problems. We still don’t fully understand all of it and every time we find out something new it’s even more amazing. The topics I enjoy the most are the ones that people can relate to their own lives – like genetics and physiology.
What wouldn’t we know about you?
I’m a bit of a nerd. I love computer games, board games and quizzes, and I’m ultra competitive.
What makes a good teacher?
You’ve got to enjoy working with people, know your subject, be a good communicator and a good listener. You need to be willing to try new things out, especially with technology. These days on YouTube, for example, you can watch timelapse videos of plant growth, amoeba feeding on bacteria or microbes replicating.
What’s it like being Creativity, Activity, Service coordinator?
For Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), students have to plan, carry out and reflect on activities over a period of 18 months. They come up with some amazing ideas. One group organised a cosplay day. Another gave out vouchers in the street to encourage people to try to speak Korean.
Sometimes it’s challenging for them to go beyond their academic studies, so the best bit for me is seeing them grow, gain in confidence and have the opportunity to be leaders.