A bbc Interview with Joshua Annis-Brown

Joshua Annis-Brown is a Year 4 (formerly Year 6), Maths and Computing Lead at a Primary School in Leeds. He´s a shy, solitary soul, so if I talk quietly he may well answer my questions. Imagine this interview in my best David Attenborough whisper. 

What made you become a teacher?

- To be honest, for a long while I had promised to never become a teacher - especially when at 6th form as I remembered how difficult it was for some of my class teachers when I was younger... After studying sport and exercise science at uni I really enjoyed the aspect of working with children during our second year. I then did a work experience placement at my old high school in the PE department and enjoyed that too. After finishing Uni I had a year of work and not doing much before I did work with a supply agency as a cover supervisor. It was excellent and I taught in high schools and for a while in PRU (frightening but eye-opening experience at 22!). I then worked as a TA in a primary and decided I preferred the freedom of teaching the entire curriculum and I loved the idea of something different every day.

What is your favourite part of the job?

         - I have two favourite parts: firstly, when kids have that Eureka! Moment and it just clicks- probably the best feeling the in world. Secondly, when they say the most random things and you have no idea what encouraged it or where it comes from but it's what you remember when you get home that evening.

What has been best thing you have done at work this year?
         - Obviously, wearing shorts whilst attending conferences is high on the list... No, the best thing at work, I think, is getting kids excited about Grammar and Times Tables this year - they did blooming well with their assessments too.

What is the most frustrating thing about teaching at the moment?

         - I think it's the curriculum mixed with teaching time. There's too much to squeeze in to too little time. Especially if you want the kids to actually remember half the stuff you've taught. Leaves you in a tough situation of having to prioritise maths and English (not saying that's necessarily wrong) but the rest of the curriculum suffers. In essence, I think it's nigh on impossible to teach everything that should be taught - to a high standard!

What songs would be on your driving to work playlist?

         - I love RnB and hiphop. So, essentially, anything featuring Drake. I also love Bloc Party. -https://open.spotify.com/user/jannisbrown/playlist/1zEaI434Cb5LkaT8EYkYVa this is my morning playlist currently.

What is the funniest thing a child has ever said/written in your class?

         - Genuinely can't think of a single thing. They are just generally hilarious and ridiculous in equal measure!

What a let-down!

What is your guilty pleasure?

- Does Justin Bieber still count as being a guilty pleasure or is he just genuinely quite well rated? In fact, I have a non-music guilty pleasure: I love a kids film.

Yes he does count. Just because he´s popular doesn´t excuse liking him.

If you weren´t a teacher, what would you be and why?

- This is a tough question. I'd like to be a full time football manager (the game) but that won't pay the bills. Realistically, I think I'd have gone back to university and done a PHD in psychology - always my favourite aspect at uni and at 6th form so I'd have followed that path more.

What are you passionate about (teaching-related or not)?

         - A few things really get me going: Football Manager, LEGO, fashion and maths.

Fun times in the Annis-Brown household.

If you had to pick one subject/topic to teach on a loop forever, what would it be?

- I'd probably teach PE on a loop (nearly did as I wanted to be a PE teacher) and I reckon I could teach rounders or  dodgeball on a forever loop and still love them.

Rounders, loop... no I didn´t get the joke either, reader.

What is the most effective resource/technology/app you use in the classroom?

- TTrockstars is amazing. I also love Sumdog for a wider range of maths.  For communicating with parents, you can't go far wrong with ClassDojo.

What is the most effective routine/method/system you use in the classroom?

- Recently I've had children in class who hate any excess noise so we've done lots in silence and the power of a burst of silent working is unparalleled in my eyes. Something that I swear by is simple positive reward. Nothing more than praise or a name on the board but my last year 6 class really responded well to that. Making those who behave well famous (@pivotalpaul's idea) rather than those who don't.

I know this one will be hard for you...If you had to pick 4 people (Twitter or otherwise) to invite to a dinner party who would it be and why?

- Stephen Fry would be a must - such an interesting person. And then, whilst I'm at it, Hugh Laurie too. Then I'd have Tom Bennett round as his book on behaviour was the first teacher book I read and it struck a chord with me on many levels so I could at least talk shop with him. Finally, I'd have Patrick Stewart too. Again, he seems such an interesting person. If I could have a fifth, I'd invite Mary Myatt as she is one of the most knowledgeable people I've had the pleasure to listen. Also, if any of the celebrities were busy, I'd definitely love so listen to Clare Sealy - she seems to be the most sensible of headteachers.

That´s five, I thought you were meant to be socially awkward?

What is the best and worst advice you have been given as a teacher?

        - Best advice was to treat the front of a classroom as a stage and each day your putting on a performance for the class to make even the most boring thing interesting, you have to sell it as interesting within itself (not make it gimmicky but make what ever it is seem unbelievably good). Worst bit of advice was (and I know you'll get this a lot...) Don't smile before Christmas. It's a nonsense. Do be fair and consistent but that doesn't mean you can smile and enjoy it!

Final Question: What drives you as a teacher?

        - What drives me is the idea that, one day, the children I teach will be in charge of things. Whether that be in charge of delivering a pizza or a country, either way they'll be in charge of something and I hope they take on some of the lessons, ideas and positive thoughts I spread!

If you could choose one person who you´d love to have the bbc interview treatment, who would it be and why?

- For the next interview, I'd love to hear from Clare Sealy. Fascinating headteacher.


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