A bbc Interview with @flymygeekflag

Welcome to the next installment of bbc Interviews. Next up is Sarah Bedwell, aka @flymygeekflag.

Sarah Bedwell initially trained as an Economic Teacher, however now teaches, amongst other things, Science at Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School, Oswaldtwistle.

Sarah is originally from Australia, but made the correct decision to leave the sunshine behind and make her home in God´s own County, Lancashire. Both here and in Australia, she has taught English, Maths, History, Geography, Citizenship, ICT and more.

Sarah was the organiser of the hugely successful Lead Learn Lancs 2016, held at Rhyddings School. She is repeating that feat this year on September 30th. Tickets are still available at: https://leadlearnlancs.wordpress.com/

What made you become a teacher?
         - I became a teacher for a couple of reasons. First and foremost because I´m a total geek when it comes to learning. I love to learn about so many different topics, and I wanted to share that learning with students and learn alongside them. Also I wanted a job that I could travel with. 


What is your favourite part of the job?
         - Being with the students, chatting to them, being part of their learning experience, learning from them, and pretty much having a laugh every day. 


What has been best thing you have done at work this year?
         - Probably some of my Science lessons. As a non-specialist it´s sometimes really hard to think outside the box when I need to differentiate the resources that the specialists put together. A couple of stand out moments would be the particle model dance floor, and teaching about rates of reaction using cakes and effervescent tablets. They´re not on my plans but they really helped my students to understand and made me feel more confident about what I´m teaching. 

I have so much admiration for you teaching so many subjects that are not your specialism, that is a real skill. 


What is the most frustrating thing about teaching at the moment?
         - Funding, funding, funding, funding. I think most people would say workload, but I think the issue is being exacerbated by inadequate funding. We´re having to stretch ourselves so thin and work miracles without the resources required. We have to be all things at all times and it just doesn´t work. We don´t have the specialist services available for students that they need and deserve, we don´t have the time to really deliver what we should be, and I think that´s incredibly frustrating.

I think we can all agree with this. Funding will have more and more detrimental impact on our children over the next few years, and the Government continue to lie about increases. 


What songs would be on your driving to work playlist?
         - Ooooh it depends on the day. Some days I listen to podcasts on the way to work, some days music. I´ve got about 10,000 songs on a USB stick in the car that´s so completely random. I can have Guns n Roses followed by Disney, followed by The Phantom of the Opera. If I´ve been to the gym first, then something loud- often a classic Aussie rock playlist on Spotify. I do love a good cheesy tune too!

So Kylie and Jason´s back catalogues then. 


What is the funniest thing a child has ever said/written in your class?
         - It´s quite rude, not sure I should share this. 
Me: What´s the technique called when you mix the butter and flour when making shortbread?
Child: Fingering the dough. 

Is that not the technical term?


What is your guilty pleasure?
         Naps, as many as I can get. 


If you weren´t a teacher, what would you be and why?
         - I´d own a dog-friendly cafe/bookstore, where I´d bake to my heart´s content, cuddle the puppies, and write in my spare time, because those are a few of my favourite things!

Cue song.... I can just see you in clothes made out of curtains. 


What are you passionate about (teaching-related or not)?
         - The word passionate, and the Trad-Prog debate! Only kidding. 
Learning, reading, knowing stuff, helping people, fairness and justice, and the Queensland State of Origin team. 

For the uninitiated, this is a sports team involving throwing boomerangs at the opposition. Or maybe just an Australian Rugby team. (Note to self, invent a new sport).


If you had to pick one subject/topic to teach on a loop forever, what would it be?
         - One day I´d love to teach Economics, which is what I actually trained to teach. I´m really happy teaching Science, so I´d probably stick to that. 


What is the most effective resource/technology/app you use in the classroom?
         - I would have said the visualiser I had, but I had to return it. 
Probably GSuite these days. I use it for a whole range of things with students. Planboard is another, but that´s for me rather than students. 


What is the most effective routine/method/system you use in the classroom?
         - Not one single routine, but using systems and methods consistently is key. Anything that allows students to know what to do and where they stand is effective, in my opinion. 


If you had to pick 4 people (Twitter or otherwise) to invite to a dinner party who
would it be and why?
         - This one is going to require some thought. 
Heston Blumenthal, because I love his attitude to food and learning. I´ve heard him speak before and he´s amazing.
Mary Myatt, because I really love the work she´s doing in education. 
Professor Brian Cox, because I think I´d learn so much from him.
My Pop, because he was a legendary storyteller, had an infectious belly laugh and because I´d get to see him again. 


What is the best and worst advice you have been given as a teacher?
         - Best: when on interview or touring a potential new school, pay attention to how much of the students you see. If they´re intentionally hidden, there´s a reason why. 
Worst: teaching individual lessons to every child in a class in the name of differentiation. 


Final Question: What drives you as a teacher?
         - The desire to learn more and be better every day. 


If you could choose one person who you´d love to have the bbc interview treatment, who would it be and why?
- I´d choose @stephen_logan, I think he´d be really interesting.

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