The April Local People column is an interview with Matt Grieve, nursery teacher at Dean Park Primary School, Balerno. Interviewed before lockdown.
Originally from Carnoustie, Matt Grieve is a nursery teacher at Dean Park Primary School in Balerno. He enjoys working as part of a team with an age group full of wonder and fun. Matt, who considers music a big influence in his life, lives in the city centre with his partner.
"the children choose what they want to do – art, baking or a picnic in the woods! We do follow a curriculum, but the only thing we insist upon is story time.”
Matt Grieve knew from the time he was in primary school that he wanted to be a teacher. Maybe that’s why he didn’t give up even though he was initially turned down by a teacher training course. There have been a few twists and turns on the path to his goal, but today he can’t help smiling when he describes his job as a nursery teacher at Dean Park.
When he didn’t get into teacher training, he pursued other courses of study, but nothing worked out. So he did what young people sometimes do when they need time to think: he backpacked round Australia for a few months. When Matt returned, he did a classroom assistant course. With classroom experience, he applied again for teacher training and was successful.
Throughout this time music was important to Matt. Since the age of 14 he’d played in bands – first, as a drummer and then later as a guitarist. For a few years he worked in a record shop, where he became familiar with all kinds of music. Matt played guitar for a band called the Mink Stoles, which split up in 2019. “Though the band had to break up, I still record under that name,” he says.
Last June Matt set himself a goal of releasing one song a week for a year. “I’ve recorded a lot – I’m currently on song 27,” he says. Quite an ambitious goal, when you consider the energy he puts into teaching.
In 2006 Matt landed his first job as a teacher at Dean Park Primary School in Balerno. “It was a great year,” he says. “Those P6 kids were amazing – they were so easy to work with. Mrs Watson was my mentor and I learned a lot from her.”
After passing his probation year, Matt got a temporary job as a P5 teacher at Dean Park. After that he took a job in the nursery, and he’s never looked back.
Matt holds an MA in Education, and did a one-year course studying Frederick Froebel, whose ideals have influenced children’s education for 200 years. In addition to working as a nursery teacher in Balerno, he works two days a week at St Leonard’s Nursery School, where he is headteacher. “You can go to work in the worst mood ever,” he says, “but because of the children’s joy, it just can’t stay.”
“Unlike primary age kids, the children choose what they want to do – art, baking or a picnic in the woods! We do follow a curriculum, but the only thing we insist upon is story time.”
Stories … reading. That strikes the right note with me!
Published in Konect April 2020
Author: Suzanne Green