Joanna Leite

Joanna Leite
Joanna Leite
Deputy Head (Pastoral)

What led you to be a teacher/work in Education?

I always said that I would never be a teacher as both my parents are! I then went to live in Spain and found myself teaching English which was the easiest way to earn money. I thoroughly enjoyed it so on my return home after four years teaching in Barcelona, I decided to specialise as a teacher. I first trained as a Primary School teacher and loved watching younger children learn through play and seeing them develop reading and writing skills from the very start of the journey. I then had an opportunity to train as a specialist Learning Support teacher and that was a very satisfying job. It’s good to help children who struggle in school. I have also taught Spanish which is the subject I studied at University. I am passionate about language learning and again, I found it very satisfying to see children progress week by week.

What's the best part of your job?

There are several ‘best parts’ to my job. The first is helping students when they are having a tough time and looking at what support we can put in place as a Pastoral team to ensure that they are happy to come to school. Secondly, I love being part of a boarding community. Having worked in boarding for many years I think it is one of the best jobs in the world. It is such fun living and working with students who can make you feel young again! The third part is seeing staff thrive in their roles. I love to give people opportunities to spread their wings and fly. I have been given that opportunity here at Sidcot School. Finally, I love being involved in marketing and recruitment trips abroad. I never thought when I trained to be a teacher that I would have the opportunity to travel around the world. It is a privilege to be involved and being able to speak passionately about Sidcot to prospective families.

If you weren't in your current role, what would you be doing now?

Working in a hospital has always fascinated me so perhaps I would be a nurse. 

What's your most memorable moment (so far) from working at Sidcot?

My most memorable moment so far was keeping the school open at Christmas through lockdown. There was a real sense that we were making history. I wrapped up over 30 Christmas jumpers!

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Not to take work too seriously and it is only a job. When you work with people in a school, it is not always easy to get the balance right and you can only do a job like mine if you care about people and the place for which you work. Working and living in a boarding school is a lifestyle that you have to totally embrace but this should not be at the cost of your own wellbeing and that of your family around you. Sometimes you need to be reminded that it is only a job in order to continue doing the work that you do with enthusiasm, passion and commitment.

How do you live adventurously?

I don’t! I’m really not very good at that and I admire all those people who do!  I’ve never done a cartwheel, never been on a skateboard, and certainly wouldn’t want to go in a cave! I like to encourage others though to make the most of opportunities to do so.

What is one subject you are curious about?

I am curious about physics. I never really understood how a plane stays in the air and how a ship doesn’t sink. Perhaps it’s time to learn!

What is one cause you care passionately about?

Cancer Research. I lost my best friend to cancer at a very early age.

What is one misconception people have about you?

People think that I am confident. I sometimes have to really work on it, particularly where public speaking is involved. I nearly did not apply for senior roles in schools for fear of having to take an assembly or speak on an open day.

What surprises you about Sidcot?

How happy the students are in their own skin.

What makes you proud of Sidcot?

The community as a whole, and by that I refer to all students and staff.  There is such a lovely feel to the school. 

How would you like to be remembered by your students?

As someone who listens, responds and cares. 

If you had one word to sum up Sidcot, what would it be?


If you had one word to sum up yourself what would it be?


What notable individual would you invite to a dinner party and why?

I would invite Marie Curie because of her pioneering work developing the theory of radioactivity and being the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.