From January 2022, we welcome Mr Tassos Makris to Tormead. Mr Makris is one of two new appointments in the Maths department and we were pleased to sit down with him to learn more about his career, his interests outside of school and, most importantly, his love of Maths!
We’re so pleased to welcome you to Tormead; can you tell us what you’re most looking forward to when you join in January?
I’m really looking forward to working in a department that is well established and achieves great results, as well as collaborating with my new colleagues, both in and out of the Maths department. I hope to create cross-curricular links with other subjects and really embed the use of technology in my lessons.
When did you first discover your love for Maths? Was it triggered by a specific event, teacher or project?
In Primary School, I remember I would always help others with their Maths work by taking them through the steps needed to complete the questions. It felt natural and this is when I realised I wanted to be a Maths teacher.
Throughout my school years, I participated in lots of Mathematical competitions; it was such a rewarding experience where I could solve problems that I wouldn’t normally encounter in the classroom. Throughout my education and university years, I never lost focus and never thought of doing anything else except teaching Maths!
Can you tell us more about your education and career history?
I completed my secondary education in Greece before studying for my BSc in Mathematics from the University of Surrey. A few years later, I completed my MPhil in Mathematics, focusing on ‘Symmetries of Difference Equations’, also at the University of Surrey before undertaking my Graduate Teacher Training (GTT) course, where I worked as a full-time Maths teacher alongside doing my training.
In my teaching career, I have had various roles and responsibilities, but I have always found the most rewarding role is in the classroom; being able to work with students and help them achieve their potential.
What attracted you to join Tormead?
When I first visited Tormead, I admired the work ethic of the students, the feeling of inclusion around the school and the extra-curricular opportunities available. I immediately pictured myself working at Tormead and being part of a great team of staff that care about the wellbeing of the girls. Out of all the schools I have previously worked in or visited, I have never felt the same warmth from staff or students as I felt at Tormead.
Tormead is a school that promotes academic excellence and, combined with the fact it is a smaller school than my previous employment, I will have the opportunity to dedicate more time to my students and help them reach their potential – I am very excited to join in January!
Do you have a favourite aspect of Maths to teach and study?
It sounds very clichéd, but I love teaching all topics and all year groups (7-13)! Every topic in Maths has it’s own difficulties, but, as you progress towards Year 11 and Year 13, you start making connections between the topics that you never realised, which is the best aspect of learning.
If I had to choose one topic nowadays that I enjoy the most, I would say Binomial Expansion – expanding brackets such as (a+b)n.
Is there an element of Maths education you would like to promote that you think is underrated?
I want all my students to understand that Maths is not just completing questions for an exam; Maths is a way of thinking about problems and solving them. Students should be able to make links from one subject to another, challenge themselves and communicate using correct mathematical language.
Do you have any hobbies or interests, apart from Maths, you like to partake in outside of work?
I love spending time with my family; I have a young daughter and a 16 month old dog, so we spend a lot of time on walks! I take great pleasure in baking, especially desserts. If I were to ever change profession, I would become a Patissier. I also enjoy playing football on Saturdays with a local team.
Is there something in your work or personal life you are particularly proud of?
There are a lot of things that make me proud on a daily basis; my family is one, especially seeing my daughter growing up and turning into a person with a great set of values. My students make me proud when they reach out and let me know that Maths has had a profound impact on their lives.
On a personal level, I would say I am most proud of my perseverance of studying in a foreign country with limited funds at the time and making a great life for myself since graduating. It may sound simple, but sometimes, simple is all you need!
What advice would you give to students who say the classic line of ‘I’m not good at Maths’, and how would you encourage them to persevere?
We cannot be good at everything; there are some subjects we thrive in and other subjects that do not suit our skills set. However, I always advise my students that even when you think you’re not ‘good’ at Maths, you must have a go – if you don’t try, you will never know how ‘good’ you are!
What careers and future opportunities can studying Maths lead to?
Opportunities are endless when studying Maths because it teachers how to think and solve problems. Careers can span across finance, project management, planning, teaching – Maths is everywhere.
Is there something you would like to tick off your bucket-list?
I would like to spend a week in each of the major global cities: New York, Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong. I have already ticked off London, Paris and Dubai.
Finally, what piece of advice would you give your teenage self if you could go back in time?
I would encourage my younger self to keep believing in my abilities and reassure myself that I’m making the right choices – worry less! Live your life, make your choices and have a go!
We would be delighted to welcome you to our next Open Day.
Friday 8 March 2024 (Prep School)
Friday 10 May 2024 (Senior School)
Thursday 19 September 2024 (Sixth Form)
To book onto an Open Day