Staff Spotlight: English Teacher and Lit. Co-ordinator, Vicki Medina

In our Staff Spotlight series we are speaking with our fantastic Gordonstoun staff, exploring their lifetime highs and lows and getting an insight into what makes them tick. Meet Vicki Medina, English Teacher and Whole School Literacy Co-ordinator. Vicki's dedication to teaching, and care for her students is evident within moments of meeting her, but she also has a few surprises up her sleeve (Irish Dancing anyone?).

Tell us a bit about yourself, what you do and how long you have worked at Gordonstoun

This is my third year of working at Gordonstoun and 14th year of teaching. I am a 'Northern lass' born and bred (extremely so; when I developed a bit of an obsession with tracing my ancestry during lockdown it was quite easy for me, as all my family originated from Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, even when you went back hundreds of years!).

I was the first person in my family to go to university, which I am very proud of. I studied at The University of Warwick and then The University of Birmingham. I'm that quintessential teacher who loved school as a student, went to university and then returned to school as a teacher!

At Gordonstoun, I'm the Whole School Literacy Co-ordinator and a Teacher of English (but I also teach Psychology as I have two undergraduate degrees - one in English Literature and another in Psychology with Counselling).

What do you enjoy most about working at Gordonstoun?

The best bit about working at Gordonstoun, for me, is the fact that we are a boarding school; it means that I know my students really well and am able to really carefully plan my lessons to meet their specific needs. It also means that there's never the excuse that they left their prep 'at home'...

My other favourite part of working at Gordonstoun is being a tutor; I am a tutor in Round Square (boarding house) to 8 students and I absolutely love getting to know them, supporting them, academically and pastorally, and seeing them flourish and grow.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement personally, is having and raising my son, as I was given a low chance of being able to carry a pregnancy myself (due to a medical condition that I have), so he is, literally, a miracle! I never thought I'd have the privilege of having a little person call me 'Mummy', so having that is an incredible achievement that means a lot.

Professionally, my greatest achievement is being made a Fellow of The Chartered College of Teaching, which I feel very proud of and humbled by, as it is a recognition of the significant impact I have made on the teaching profession. Additionally, each time a student achieves their full potential (this doesn't have to be the absolute top grades, it is whatever full potential means for that individual student) and overcomes any barriers they're experiencing, then that gives me the best feeling ever!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

My idea of perfect happiness is a day on one of the beautiful beaches that we have here on the Moray Firth, preferably with takeaway fish and chips as I walk along the sand with my family. I feel so lucky to live and work in such an exquisite part of the world, where nature and the North Sea are literally on our doorstep.

What is something surprising about you?

Something surprising about me is that I didn't learn to drive until I was 28 years old. Another is that I won trophies for Irish Dancing in my youth.

What talent would you most like to have?

I would love to speak all of the languages in the world! I find it fascinating speaking to all of the students at Gordonstoun, many of whom are at least bilingual, and I wish that I could communicate with them in all of the languages that they speak. It would open up the world to me, in so many ways!

Is there a quote or saying you live your life by?

I'm an English teacher, so I think it is mandatory that I have some literary quotations that I try to live by:

Shakespeare: "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none." ('All's Well That Ends Well)

Miller: "[...] only a little boat looking for a harbour." ('Death of a Salesman')

Angelou: "Still I'll rise." ('Still I Rise')

I have also gained a new one, since working at Gordonstoun, which is by Kurt Hahn: "Think highly of yourself because the world takes you at your own estimate."

What is your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure is cheesy romantic comedy films, the more cliched the better! Some of my favourites are 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', '10 Things I Hate About You' (bonus points for being inspired by Shakespeare's 'The Taming of the Shrew') and 'Notting Hill'.

Thanks to Vicki for taking the time to chat with us!

Vicki was recently a guest speaker on the Chartered College of Teaching Podcast, click here to hear more about Vicki’s experience becoming a Chartered Teacher. To find out firsthand how our dedicated staff work together to support every child to reach their full potential, join us for a Virtual Taste of Gordonstoun Webinar.