#bbcInterview with @stephenconnor7
- First tell us about yourself.
I'm in my 11th year of teaching, having arrived late-ish at the age of 25. I spent my first ten years at the same school where I worked with some brilliant people, before leaving to start at a new place in September. I was just getting about getting settled before the closures...
- Bad timing!
I surprised myself with how long it took me to adjust. It will probably feel like we are starting again come September (or whenever it might be, in whatever form).
- 1. Why teaching? What would you be if you weren’t a teacher?
1. I think I fell into teaching rather than ever feeling a great vocation towards it. I was happily employed by an independent record shop - started as a gap year thing, then developed into a full-time job and a real love. As the shop started to struggle, my parents gently suggested looking into ‘a proper job’. I’d always had lots of younger cousins and found it fairly easy to get on with them, so wondered whether there was a future in it. Volunteering, a 4 year undergraduate course and a spell as a TA later, I was a teacher. I still worked at the record shop at weekends when on placement - I guess if that hadn’t have closed, I’d still be there.
- 2. What advice would you give for newcomers to twitter?
That it is a brilliant tool, full of brilliant people sharing brilliant ideas and resources... but it is not the be-all and end-all of education. There seem to be some who are deliberately out to argue; life's too short for arguing with people who are ultimately strangers. So my advice would be use it, a bit.
- 3. What are your passions?
3. My passions in education are reading and writing, particularly through picture books and poetry. One of the challenges I was having at my new school was trying to persuade a class of reluctant children that reading was important and worthwhile, and I felt I was getting there, slowly. I love how many possibilities reading opens up. Poetry is a sort of freedom, and can really show your children in a different light.
Away from education, I’m a keen runner, and am missing the competitive side of that at the moment. I was just finishing my training for my first marathon the lockdown hit. Used to play football until my knees gave up, read a lot, enjoy craft beer, and would love to go travelling again, having been to South America in 2016.
- 4. What has been your favourite lesson ever?
4. I’ve found this one very difficult to answer. A lesson I always remember was one we did as the start of a topic of fantasy writing, where we spent all of the Friday evening changing two classrooms into different ‘lands’, full of sensory objects and items, and it provoked an amazing and unexpected reaction from our Y6 children. Another was making rockets full of vinegar and bi-carb that ended up exploding all over everyone. But I’m probably happiest teaching writing, modelling it, changing it and working with it. No frills, I’m afraid.
- 5. Who should play you in the film of your life?
No, let me think.
- Any particular reason?
He’s slightly awkward and he can glower really well.
And because Fight Club is one of my favourite films.
- 6. What is the best/worst teaching advice you’ve heard?
Worst is the classic not smiling until Christmas thing. And I hate when people say that teachers should leave their problems at the door when they come into school. Life doesn’t work like that.
The best advice I’ve had is to be honest with parents, to build good, positive and productive relationships with them as soon as you can. If your children’s parents support you, then you’re on to a winner. NQT advice would be to observe as many teachers teaching as you possibly can, because you’ll learn something from each one.
- 7. If you were an inanimate object, what would you be?
My wife has suggested an old armchair, which I think a) works and b) shows how well she knows me - showing signs of wear, often found in the corner of a room, open to a book-reading session and a glass of whisky in front of a fire. Knows its place.
- 8. What's your most controversial opinion?
I am not one for holding controversial opinions, really.
Most meetings are a waste of time.
Six weeks holiday is far too long.
Michael Morpurgo has written some excellent books. I don’t understand why people seem to hate him.
- 9. Which 4 living people would you invite to dinner?
Famous? Bob Mortimer, who is a comedy hero and a genuine all-round loveable man. Haruki Murakami, my favourite author, to bring tales, music and whisky. Aisling Bea, who I think is hugely funny, and Barack Obama, a much-missed voice of reason.
Non-famous people right now would be my parents and my in-laws or sisters.
- 10. What would you like to be remembered for?
10. I guess I’d like the children I teach to remember me for being the person who introduced them to a great new book, author or genre. I’d like my colleagues to remember me for being the person who got rid of pointless staff meetings. It would be nice to be known for being fair, too.
- Finally….Who would you nominate for an interview?
Nominations - @KSunray3 , @GalwayMr , @Rosemarycalm, all of whom share book brilliance in a quiet yet inspirational way.