Ryan came to QMU as an undergraduate to study for a BSc (Hons) in Nutrition. After thoroughly enjoying his time on the course and realising that he wanted to get into teaching, Ryan decided to continue his studies and put his passion for health and wellbeing into practice by enrolling on the University’s new PGDE Home Economics course.
He said: “I knew the University well, and it was a great place to study, so the decision to move on to postgraduate level at Queen Margaret University and gain a qualification that would allow direct access into secondary school teaching was a no-brainer!”
Ryan Lee was in demand by employers before he even reached his graduation at Queen Margaret University.
Home Economics teachers are highly sought after in secondary schools across Scotland, so Ryan knew he stood an excellent chance of securing a position very quickly. His dream start was to get a teaching job in the local area, so he was over the moon to be offered a Home Economics teaching post at Musselburgh Grammar School.
Your time at QMU
“I had the best time at QMU." says Ryan, "I loved doing the BSc Nutrition, especially learning about contemporary food issues, sustainability and the many health-related issues and inequalities that Scotland faces today. Taking part in an Honours project at a primary school where I was able to teach children about the journey of food and food sustainability was another highlight.
The staff at Queen Margaret were so approachable, supportive and interested in each and every student. They all want to help you progress and support you in reaching your goals. The staff always seemed accessible to students. Where else can you casually sit down and join the Principal for lunch? It is that small family vibe and attitude to student support which sets QMU apart from other universities in my opinion.”
Becoming a Home Economics Teacher
“I was buzzing that I secured a place on the one-year postgraduate Home Economics course. Embracing the values of social justice and inclusion, and putting this into practice as a new Home Economics teacher, was a fantastic learning experience. I particularly enjoyed challenging stereotypes about the subject and driving Home Economics forward in the 21st century; there’s so much more to it than just aprons and sewing machines! It's a really important, contemporary, enjoyable subject for young people, and one that can help them develop as healthy, knowledgeable and capable young adults!”
“The various placements in secondary schools allowed me to work with so many fantastic teachers. You get to put your academic knowledge into practice in the classroom. I learned so much in my final year at the University and on placement. It was a steep learning curve but a fantastic experience.”
“The University is highly focused on developing students’ employability as well. The Employer Mentoring Scheme connected me with a fantastic mentor from industry who helped support and guide throughout my senior years. It was an invaluable learning and confidence building experience. I keep in touch with my mentor and they have been a fantastic support to me.”
Highlights and Challenges
Ryan’s first year of teaching took place during the pandemic. He explained: “Getting to grips with my first teaching job and supporting young people’s development during a pandemic has been a real challenge.
“However, there are key elements that were instilled in me at Queen Margaret - resilience, rising to a challenge, working as part of a team and understanding the importance of developing strong communication skills – all of these things have definitely helped me throughout this last year or so. QMU also encouraged me to develop a positive, resilient, can-do attitude which helps you do your best to deal with anything put in front of you. It has also made a massive difference to come to work every day and work in a fantastic school such as Musselburgh Grammar School”
“It’s a privilege to teach Home Economics in the 21st century - every day is totally different and it’s great to see the impact that my subject is having on our young people. It's a really enjoyable and rewarding career and when I see the young people progress with each lesson, I know I made the right choice to study at Queen Margaret University and to pursue a role as a teacher of Home Economics.”
"The staff at Queen Margaret were so approachable, supportive and interested in each and every student. They all want to help you progress and support you in reaching your goals. The staff always seemed accessible to students."