In the latest in our Meet the Staff series we interviewed Mr George Pounder, our Head of Classics, who is also very involved a whole range of aspects of school life.
How long have you been working at Glenalmond? 15 years (I think!!!)
Can you give a summary of your role and what it entails? I am Head of Classics, overseeing the teaching of Latin, Greek, and Classical Civilisation through the College. Appropriately for the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, we are a department of three. Classical triumvirates have rather less good press, but we are a flourishing triumvirate. I am also the Centre Co-Ordinator of the EPQ, the A Level research project, and Head of the William Bright Society. I was also Housemaster of Matheson's, but am now a tutor in Skrine's.
How did you get into this field of work? When I left Glenalmond, I went up to Oxford to study Classics. While I did a couple of other things before teaching, I always felt I wanted to become a teacher.
Where did you work before you came to Glenalmond? A couple of years after graduating, I started teaching at Ardvreck School in Crieff, where I taught Latin, and where I was also the Assistant Housemaster of Mac House. I left Ardvreck to do my PGCE at Jordanhill. After this, I taught Classics at Rugby School, where I was also Assistant Housemaster of School House. I arrived at Glenalmond to teach Classics, but then became Housemaster of Matheson's, and then Head of Classics.
What is the best thing about working at Glenalmond? The main benefit of a school like Glenalmond is the rich variety of opportunities available. The pupils are amazing: they get involved in so many things and develop so many skills and interests. This is what makes working here so rewarding.
What is your favourite part of your teaching role? I love the variety of Classical subjects we offer, and the opportunities to continue learning. As a teacher, you learn so much about your subject, in ways you probably didn't imagine while studying yourself.
What do you love most about the Classics? I have always found it amazing how a school's oldest subject speaks to us with such resonance every day. Looking at our world by overlaying a filter of ancient culture is very revealing. The Greeks had a saying: "know thyself". Studying Classics shines a bright light on our own selves. Classical literature, history, and language are wondrous in their own rights, but all echo loudly today. I know of no better intellectual discipline for its variety, skills, and timelessness.
Any particular memories of your time as a pupil at Coll? I was an Academic Scholar and Music Scholar at Glenalmond (I think I was the first boy at my prep school to win two scholarships like this), and these inspired me to get involved. I was extremely lucky to have such amazing teachers, especially in the Classics Department. From drinking coffee outside the temples in Paestum to reading Plato through clouds of pipe smoke, my memories of learning Classics at Coll are very fond. I was also privileged to be part of some wonderful music during my time here, especially in Chapel, though I was also a very keen flautist and played many concerts over my time. I am very lucky to have had such an inspiring education.
You are fully involved in many aspects of school life - what other areas do you enjoy being involved in? I enjoy refereeing rugby here at Glenalmond when I can. I am on the SRU National Referee Panel which keeps me busy, but I like doing games at school level too. I have always enjoyed being part of Chapel, and especially Chapel music. I learned to play the organ here under the brilliant Chris Tambling, and I am very fortunate to be able to engage with the rich choral tradition enjoyed by generations of Glenalmond pupils. For me, Chapel, and Chapel music, is in every way the beating heart of Glenalmond.
Many thanks Mr Pounder!