Mike Kane has been Head of ESMS Junior School for the last six years. We caught up with him to find out a bit more about why he loves the role so much.
How would the students at the ESMS Junior School describe you?
This is always a tricky question, as you are inevitably drawn to say what you hope the answer would be. I would like to think that the children see me as someone who smiles a lot and someone who likes to stop, chat and have a joke. They probably think I like to talk a lot too. Above all, I hope they see me as someone who cares and who is interested in their world and what is happening to them.
What was it about ESMS Junior School that made you want to apply for the position?
I started working at ESMS as an English Teacher at Stewart’s Melville College. I spent many happy years there, progressing through the ranks to become a Head of Guidance before joining the management team as Head of the Upper School.
Six years ago, I made the move to become the Head of the Junior School. It was the opportunity to play an important role in supporting the education of so many children that attracted me to the role. My years in the Senior School gave me an advantage because I understood what was needed to prepare our Junior School pupils for the next step in their journey. I have always been in awe of the dedication and care shown by primary teachers – who wouldn’t want to work with people like that?
What subject do/did you teach?
I trained as a Teacher of English and I have always enjoyed teaching Language and Literature. There is nothing better than watching a student’s eyes light up when they understand the message contained in a text. I do miss it!
What is the greatest life lesson your own education taught you?
There are few people in life blessed to find things easy without trying. I was not one of them. The core lesson from my own education is that this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Hard work and commitment pay off. Work hard and find your passion.
What inspired you to become a teacher and later a Head of School?
Initially it was undoubtedly my love for English Literature and English Language which led me into this career. As a student I helped edit the student newspaper at my university and saw that as a possible career path, but before coming to university I had the opportunity to work as a student teacher in Poland for UNESCO, at a time before the wall came down. I spent my time there teaching English and coaching Karate, which I look back on fondly. Therefore, to find a place like ESMS which encourages academic teaching alongside a wide range of extra-curricular interests, was a major draw.
How do you think a Headteacher can make a difference to an individual student?
I think a Headteacher can make fundamental differences to each individual student in a myriad of ways. There are the personal interactions, and it is so important that you can show that you are invested in those around you. This can show itself in the classroom; it can show itself in the corridors, with brief passing interactions and for a Headteacher in particular, it shows itself in your willingness to attend as many events as possible. Above all, a Headteacher can set a tone. They can show students that it is okay to make mistakes as long as you try and as long as you are honest. A Headteacher can demonstrate the importance of values which matter beyond life in the school and for life in the workplace.
Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows?
I have one particular affliction: I am a terrible singer, but I love to sing!
Ordinarily, this doesn’t cause many problems, but as the Headmaster of the ESMS Junior School, when there are prize-givings and assemblies; it can be an issue, especially if I am in front of a microphone. The students in my school may not know that when it comes to singing together, the technicians all know to turn my microphone off, so that when I am singing with gusto, I do not put off all the beautiful singers around me. I think it is for the best!