Before the Corona Virus epidemic began, Spirit of St. Louis had the chance to ask Mr Ellison a few questions about himself. Have a look at the interview to find out more about what he did before coming to St. Louis…
Firstly, what made you want to work with students?
It was a long story really; I was always interested in mathematics and I always loved learning new things. I still love learning new things. It was always an idea and I always tried teaching things to other people because of my love for learning.
And why mathematics specifically?
I’ve always been interested in maths, I have always loved maths, and I have always been decent at maths, so I guess that was an easy way for me to get into teaching. There are some other things that I enjoy teaching but maths is probably the best.
What do you think is the most important role of a teacher?
That’s really difficult… I suppose making sure you’re fair, that’s not always easy. And trying to be fair for everyone, that’s really important. Certainly, young people don’t often forget things as quickly as you have to. As a teacher you have to treat every new day as a completely new start, you can’t hold a grudge, can’t think ‘This kid always annoys me’, you have to be fair every day. I think this is a really important role, and a very difficult one.
I was told you were part of the army, how did that make an impact on your life?
Yeah, well it taught me how to be on time, how to look after myself and be responsible for everything I do. So obviously in the army there is nobody else to blame; you take your responsibility as it comes. So yes that is a good lesson to learn. It also helps to be more organized and structured.
Also, before coming to St. Louis you were an engineer, right?
Could you tell us a bit about it?
Yes. In the army I was a royal engineer. So it was our job to make sure that everybody else got where they were going. So, if there was a big group of tanks and they came across a big hole, we would build a bridge, we would fill the hole, or we would do something to get the tanks to the other side. If there was a big obstacle, a big thing in the way, we would blow it up or we would clear away mines which were in the way. So that was our job most of the time, and then when it was quiet, when things weren’t going on, we would just build camps. I’m a carpenter per trade, and I did that for a while before I became a teacher. So that was our job, as engineers, we would just make sure that everyone could get where they are going.
And lastly, what does bonjour really mean?
Everything, in French. But don’t tell Ms Guidez.