Meet the new Head of Faculty - Mathematics: Philip Lee
Philip Lee has been appointed Head of Faculty – Mathematics at Dilworth after working at Saint Kentigern College for 13 years where he was Head of Maths and IB Co-ordinator.
Originally from Farnborough, Hampshire in the United Kingdom, Lee taught at Bishop Wand School in the UK for five years before travelling to New Zealand with his wife for an OE. What was supposed to be a relatively short stay to follow the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour, resulted in deciding to make New Zealand their new home. “New Zealand has so many different outdoor activities to get involved in, such as tramping, snowboarding and scuba diving. I was also attracted to NZ’s love of sports, particularly cricket and rugby which are two of my favourites,” said Lee.
His first role in New Zealand was at Pukekohe High School where he taught for two years before moving to Saint Kentigern College where he remained for over a decade. Lee said he was attracted to the role at Dilworth because he knew the school was a special place with a reputation for doing good. “It was set up with a fantastic vision and I hope to be able to help develop that vision. Of course the opportunity to lead a department of committed teachers in everyone’s favourite subject was also an inducement,” he said.
Lee’s motivation for working in education stems from his own passion for learning. “I have always been interested in learning and believe that every day gives us the opportunity to learn something new. I also feel that teaching is one of the few professions which enables you to make a real difference in society and play a role in shaping that society.” His education philosophy focuses on developing a growth mindset where mistakes and errors are encouraged as he believes that smart people learn through their mistakes. “If you are not making mistakes, you are not pushing yourself hard enough,” Lee explains.
He is also incredibly passionate about his subject which he believes is applicable to so many different fields, that it helps in developing an understanding of other subjects as well. “Maths has so many aspects to it. It has the elegance of a simple proof to the most complicated equation, whilst enabling the messy study of chaos and uncertainty through finding patterns. It is intrinsically and extrinsically valuable in both the abstract of set theory and the concrete of everyday life. Bertrand Russell said that life was good for two things: learning mathematics and teaching mathematics. I think that there is more to life than that but the mathematics makes it a lot more interesting,” he said.
The school’s vision to develop young men who strive for personal excellence really resonates with Lee who hopes to achieve just that in his new role. “I hope to encourage all boys to strive for personal excellence in mathematics, through developing growth mindsets and encouraging academic risk-taking. I want to ensure that no boy coming through Dilworth believes the myth that they are not good at maths”. Furthermore he would like the Mathematics department to be viewed as one of the premier departments through the opportunities available for the boys to develop great problem-solving abilities and gaining exceptional results.