Mr. Leech adds to the chemistry equation

Mr. Will Leech – photo by Index Staff

Mr. Will Leech’s journey began far away from Haverford: in the United Kingdom. Before heading off to university, he took a gap year to do youth work in schools, where he discovered a deep, genuine passion for teaching. Now, he is excited to share his knowledge of chemistry with the student body.

      After graduating from university with a degree in chemistry and working as a youth pastor for a church in the UK, Mr. Leech decided to explore teaching as a profession.

     “I think I knew for a long time that I was probably going to be a teacher,” Mr. Leech said. “I really wanted to use my chemistry degree, but I still really wanted to work with young people. If you take a love for chemistry and a passion for working with young people and put the two together, you end up with teaching.”

     For about four years, Mr. Leech taught in a variety of schools in several areas across the UK, including Brighton, York, Harrogate, and Newcastle. 

     “I taught in lots of different locations,” Mr. Leech said. “Some were city-center schools and some very rural schools; there were lots of challenges associated with that.”

     Mr. Leech moved to the U.S. with his wife in January. He is thankful for the support he has received from Haverford as he adjusted.

     “Haverford was really welcoming and accommodating of my needs,” Mr. Leech said. “I’m coming into this with no experience of the American education system, and yet they’ve been so welcoming. Just even terminology. I didn’t understand what a sophomore is; I had no idea how old a sophomore student is. They’ve really guided me through that and that’s been a really big difference.”

     Mr. Leech is excited to embrace new challenges.

     “I’m really looking forward to working at Haverford,” Mr. Leech said. “I’ve actually never worked in a private school. I’ve never worked in an all-boys school. So there are lots of really new exciting challenges for me. It is going to be hard to adjust, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

     This year, Mr. Leech will teach both standard and Honors Chemistry, working closely with Science Teacher Mr. Chris DiBello.

“We know Honors Chemistry has a reputation for being a very hard course and we’re not going to shy away from that, but you might see some changes, which might be quite exciting.”

Mr. Will Leech

     “Honors Chemistry has obviously been Mr. Trocano’s thing for a long time,” Mr. Leech said. “We want to carry on as much of the challenge that comes with it. We know Honors Chemistry has a reputation for being a very hard course and we’re not going to shy away from that, but you might see some changes, which might be quite exciting. And then with standard chemistry, we want to continue to develop and grow that as time goes on.”

     Mr. Leech sees chemistry as the perfect middle ground between biology and physics.

     “It tells you about the building blocks of the universe,” Mr. Leech said. “It’s a real cliché phrase that I use all the time, but it really does. If you want to think about how things work you need to go down to the atomic level. Then, once you understand that, you can build up.”

     In addition to teaching, Mr. Leech will lead a Third Form advisory.

    “I’m looking forward to getting to know [my advisory], to supporting them and helping them whenever I possibly can. I think that the community aspect makes such a big difference. I think I’ve been really welcomed by the staff. Now, I’m looking forward to meeting with the students.”

Author: Mitav Nayak '22

Mitav Nayak has contributed to The Index since 2019. He currently serves as Sports Editor. Mitav won the fall 2019 Pennsylvania School Press Association (PSPA) Philadelphia-area Student Journalism Competition for Newspaper Sports Story Writing and will compete for the state title in the Spring of 2020.