#bbcinterview with @Mr_AlmondEd
- First tell us about yourself.
I’m Neil. Son of an English man and an Irish Woman so naturally, to keep both sides of the family happy, I grew up in Wales. Grew up in a little town called Carmarthen but got out and moved to London when I was 18 for a university where I did a degree in Primary Education. Completed that at 21 years of age and have been in the classroom since. I currently work for the Woodland Academy Trust where I am a Lead Teacher - so helping the teachers be the best version of themselves whilst also dabbling in reviewing the curriculum of the schools.
- Sounds like an ace job.
- 1. Why teaching? What would you be if you weren’t a teacher?
I was very fortunate growing up in having two parents that were still together and while we certainly weren’t exceptionally wealthy, we had a two week European holiday every year and so certainly were not living pay check to pay check. I definitely took that as the floor standard in terms of quality of life and so growing up in Wales, particularly in the countryside, you are shielded from the inequality. Once I realised that my ‘floor standard’ was actually pretty exceptional, i knew giving people the opportunity to have the quality of life I had was something I wanted to do. If I was not a teacher, I think I’d love to be in the Civil Service. The hustle and bustle and the working of inner government must be fascinating to take part in.
- 2. What advice would you give for newcomers to twitter?
It’s the best CPD out there. As a relatively new comer to twitter everything can be daunting so spend some time getting to understand the platform. Regardless of your personal educational philosophy, make sure you follow people who do not think the same as you as that’s when you start to grow.
Feel free to join in with everything. There’s no conversation you would be off limits to and there is no ‘cult of celebrity’. Everyone hear is just a regular person behind a phone so don’t be afraid to put your ideas down.
Follow people from a different phase to your current situation. I’ve never taught in EYFS or secondary but conversing with colleagues from there has helped me become a much better teacher.
Follow the hashtags #edutwitter and #PrimaryRocks or find the secondary subject discussion if you are a secondary teacher.
- 3. What are your passions?
I am seriously passionate about education and a fair amount of my free time is spent reading edu-books or listening to podcasts on education. The amazing thing about teaching is the moment you think you reach that level where you know it all, something new comes along and makes you reevaluate everything. My whole philosophy of education has constantly been moved and pushed around based on wider reading around the subject and that is good thing.
Another passion is music. I absolutely love playing the guitar and have been doing that since I was 13 - I am a very happy bedroom guitar player but #TweacherJams came about a year or two ago and I realised many people shared that passion - which is lovely. Hopefully we can get a large Corona Over Jam going when this is all done.
Not being able to see live music right now is pretty tough too!
- Definitely need an EduGig after all this.
- 4. What has been your favourite lesson ever?
There have been too many to choose from but a stand out lesson was in maths using double sided counters to help teach negative numbers. The concept of a zero-pair is really powerful and makes basic addition and subtraction with negative numbers so much more accessible than just getting students to memorise what happens when we add a negative and a positive number together. It just helps them with that visual aspect of dealing with negative numbers that are difficult to show with other manipulatives. I remember this one being a really successful lesson!
I took this idea from
- I’ll give that a watch.
- 5. Who should play you in the film of your life?
That’s easy. Since secondary school I’ve always been told I like a young Tom Hanks. And
@Teacherglitter mentioned that he would play me the other day when I asked people a similar question to this. So definitely Tom.
- I can see it.
-6. What is the best/worst teaching advice you’ve heard?
Best advice would definitely be when planning start backwards. Think about what you would like the kids to be able to do when the lesson is done and the path of least resistance to get there. Thinking really carefully about what I am going to get the the kids to do, what my explanation is going be to ensure the kids can do that. Is there anything they have learn previously that may help them solve this. When I heard that, something clicked.
Worst advice would be that students learn better if they discover things for themselves. It’s a dangerous and outright lie.
- 7. If you were an inanimate object, what would you be?
Oooh. Quite think I’d fancy being a grand piano that’s used regularly in live performances. No idea why - it was the first thing that popped into my head
- That is interesting.
- 8. What's your most controversial opinion?
All singing all dancing displays are a complete waste of time and while I have no problems people choosing to do them off their own back, SLT should not have a checklist of non-negotiables when it comes to them. The time spent putting them together could be used for different things that could actually make a bigger impact on a child’s learning
- 9. Which 4 living people would you invite to dinner?
I would have to have:
Frank Turner - to discuss politics and songwriting
Steve Vai - an American guitar virtuoso - he has a wonderful outlook to life and music and asking him more about his practice regime when he was younger would be fascinating.
Jonny Ive - He designed lots of products for Apple and his father wrote the first ever DT curriculum for schools when the NC came to be.
Ricky Gervais - Who wouldn’t want him there?
- Interesting mix.
- 10. What would you like to be remembered for?
Hmm... I’d like to think I’d be remembered for being true to myself and doing what I believe to be right - both personally and professionally. I really think there’s something in the Churchill quote ‘You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.’
- Finally….Who would you nominate for an interview?
You should interview @Suchmo83 he is a fierce intellect!
Thanks for this Ben