A bbc Interview with @darynsimon Daryn Egan-Simon

My next interview is with Daryn Egan-Simon, best known as the co-creator of #BrewEd.
Introduce yourself...

Sure thing... Former teacher (history, politics, citizenship). Parent, PhD researcher and PGCE tutor. Welsh.Oh, BrewEd co-founder too!


Bit of a cliche but I was fortunate to have some wonderful teachers (Mr Kelly and Mrs Ambrose to name a couple) who believed in me and helped me really turn things around towards the end of secondary school. I was massively grateful for how their support and encouragement changed my life and thought I might be able to do the same for some young people. That’s why I became a teacher - To try and make a difference - especially for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Not a cliche. Important that we remember the effect our teachers had.

That’s true. I interview for places on the PGCE and we ask a similar question and often get one of two responses...because of a teacher or love of a subject.
What has been best thing you have done at work this year?
That’s easy. The best thing this year has been my PhD research. I got to spend several months with Year 5 exploring the use of animated film as a pedagogical tool for teaching citizenship education. It’s the first time I’ve ever taught in a primary school and I loved it. The pupils were amazing.
What 3 songs would be on your driving to work playlist?
Only 3? That seems unfair but let’s give it a whirl. I love songs I can blast out and sing along to on the way to work... Belle and Sebastion’s The Boy With the Arab Strap is a real mood lifter. The Manics - Motorcycle Emptiness. I can really give that some welly. And Pulp’s Common People - greatest indie anthem ever recorded.
I've not heard the B+S one but the other two are tunes.

It’s the theme tune to programme Teachers, which, if you’ve not seen, needs to be on your summer viewing list.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t really watch any reality tv but I absolutely love First Dates. And First Date Holiday. And First Dates Abroad. Yes, I know.
Anything with Fred and his Gallic charm.

If you weren´t a teacher, what would you be?
If not teaching then I’d like to open a mobile omelette bar. Travel around festivals and big outdoor events selling top notch delicious omelettes. It may still happen. Eggistential crisis.
Ba dum tish.
What are you passionate about (teaching-related or not)?
I’m really passionate about the arts. I think every child deserves access to high quality arts education regardless of their background. Children learn so much through drama, music and dance but sadly, however, the arts seem the first to go as schools increasingly face funding cuts. Makes me so angry.
If you had to pick one subject/topic to teach on a loop forever, what would it be?
That’s a tough one. I love teaching history, especially where people have fought to bring about important change such as the Suffragettes or Civil Rights Movement in America. But I’m going to go for global citizenship education. I think it’s important that young people learn about the challenges we face - human rights violations, armed conflict, sustainability etc. Not just that but also helping them to believe they can actually make a difference and become active agents of change

What is the most effective routine/method/system you use in the classroom?
I’m a big fan of dialogic teaching and utilising the power of talk in the classroom. When done well it can be a very effective approach in developing children’s critical thinking. Would highly recommend Robin Alexander’s pocket sized book - Towards Dialogic Teaching; Rethinking Classroom Talk.
If you had to pick 4 people (Twitter or otherwise) to invite to a dinner party who would it be and why?
I’d actually invite my 4 childhood friends - Joe, Dan, Ryan and the Other Dan. We’ve been mates for 30 odd years but we don’t see each other enough. Guess it’s what happens when everyone has jobs and kids. It’s great when we do meet up though...often quite boozey.
What is the best and worst advice you have been given as a teacher?
Worst: as an NQT I was told to pick on a pupil for a minor uniform misdemeanour and give them a public bollocking so everyone knew I was strict. Ignored that advice.

Best: never take it personally.

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