Mr Mackenzie is now in his fourth year at Portobello and in the short time he has been here he has become quite a favourite. While he started on the second floor, he now lives on the eighth in his room full of wall art, strange handprints and Harry Potter references. Known as one of the friendliest teachers around, he is always up for a chat about anything from Scottish independence to that kid off Britain’s got talent last night. Here, we interview him about student life, what he gets up to in his spare time and personal experiences.
Adeel: So why did you become a teacher?
Mr. Mackenzie: Two reasons, firstly because I really enjoy history, secondly I enjoy working with teenagers as you can have a bit of banter while having an influence on them and helping them to achieve their goals.
Adeel: If you weren’t a teacher what would you be and why?
Mr. Mackenzie: Again two things, I was never good at Chemistry but I’d have liked to be a vet, either that or a very bad novelist.
Adeel: If you could teach another subject what would it be and why?
Mr. Mackenzie: Either Modern Studies as it’s similar to History and also about people, which I enjoy, or Biology, which I enjoyed and was good at.
Adeel: Which teacher at this school has a quality you would like?
Mr Mackenzie: I really like Miss Gallagher’s sense of humour; she cracks me up all the time. She’s tough talking yet manages to do it with a bit of humour.
Adeel: Which teachers here are your biggest friends and what do you get up to?
Mr. Mackenzie: Obviously Miss Nisbet and Miss Taylor, but also Mr McNiven and Mr Aitken. We generally just take the mick out of each other in school, end of term parties, or tend to go for noodles at the weekend
Adeel: What’s the strangest thing we could find in your classroom?
Mr. Mackenzie: Probably a set of real Nazi stamps from Nazi Germany that have actually been used, I got them off EBay.
Adeel: Moving on to education, what did you study and where?
Mr. Mackenzie: I studied English and History at St. Andrews, but focused on History in my final two years; In my first year I lived in the halls with Miss Bigg. After that I lived in several flats
Adeel: What kind of accommodation would you recommend for readers?
Mr. Mackenzie: I would recommend living in the halls for the first year as you make loads of friends. As well as that I would recommend moving away from home for the full student experience.
Adeel: Did you go through some tough times at uni regarding heating and food etc.?
Mr. Mackenzie: Yes, in second year I spent my entire student loan in the summer so I had to get a job in the aquarium. In third year my flat had no central heating and tiny electric heaters, I would wake up and be able to see my own breath, also the inside of the windows would have ice on them!
Adeel: So would you study with loads of clothes on?
Mr. Mackenzie: Blankets, electric heaters, gloves, I would write essays with a big woolly hat on. The gloves were fingerless so I could still type, plenty of hoodies and jackets too! I would spend a lot of time in the library to escape the cold.
Adeel: So coming back to school, what’s the strangest or funniest thing to have happened to you at Portobello?
Mr. Mackenzie: In my first year here, It was an afternoon double period and I had grey trousers on, I went to get something out the drawer and they split all the way up the back! Thankfully I had Mrs Philip, I told her I’d split my trousers and she put a big coat around me and I went home. Seriously though, they split all the way up the back, I think that’s both funny and strange!
Adeel: Any strange habits or superstitions?
Mr. Mackenzie: I like things to be organised so sometimes I fix a squint pen, I was worse when I was younger
Adeel: What sports have you trained for?
Mr. Mackenzie: I did used to go to the gym, when I was at uni I gave kickboxing a try. It was actually pretty good until we got to the fighting bit, which was when I quit.
Adeel: Out of sports what hobbies have you got?
Mr. Mackenzie: I like going for a run, reading, and the cinema, TV shows such as Game of Thrones and recently I’ve got into wall climbing at places such as Alien Rock.
Adeel: So you mentioned movies, what the last movie or TV programme that made you cry?
Mr. Mackenzie: I can have a good cry at a film, probably 12 Years A Slave, I shed a tear for that a couple of times throughout in the cinema.
Adeel: Anything else you’d like to add?
Mr. Mackenzie: That’s it, thanks for having me!
By Adeel Ali