Alistair Hannah

Head of Sixth Form

Life before Teesside High School

Born and raised in deepest darkest Carlisle, I have spent much of the time since explaining to people that this is neither in Scotland nor Wales. After gaining my degree in Applied Psychology, I gave up trying to explain the geographic location of the “great border city” and instead turned my attention to explaining that I couldn’t, in fact, read minds. Realising that I spent a lot of time explaining things I decided that teaching was for me. After completing my PGCE at Keele University , I returned to the North East, working as a Psychology teacher and sixth form tutor, and was in my previous post for nine years before joining Teesside High School.

What do you enjoy most about your subject?

I love the breadth involved in Psychology. The scope of the subject is enormous and can be illustrated by the fact that at various points in the A-level course students can be; investigating the causes of the holocaust, discussing clinical characteristics of schizophrenia or contemplating the accuracy of Eyewitness Testimony. Psychology is a subject where we learn about theories, these theories often face contradicting claims but they do provoke interesting debate.

What do you enjoy most about Teesside High School?

The greatest asset of Teesside High school is the students. I am amazed by the confidence and enthusiasm that our students show. This is something that I have had the privileged in seeing academically within my sixth form classes but also, through the house system, I have also witnessed the same attributes from students across the age range in sporting, musical and social contexts.

What is your favourite lesson?

My favourite topic area is ‘research methods in psychology’, this is an area which is the unsung hero of my subject. As Psychology is a science, each theory is only as strong as the evidence which is used to support it. It is the  ‘Research methods’  area that most informs students of the methods, terminology and issues which underpin this important aspect of the subject. Without the methodological knowledge all we are left with is speculation (which is a rude word in Psychology).

What do others say about you?

Not a lot, they’re worried that I can analyse them. I don’t correct them as this leads to a very quiet life.