A bbc Interview with Steam Co. @ST3AMCo

Today´s interview is with Nick Corston of Steam Co.
Please introduce yourself...

Nick Corston. Dad and Co-founder of community enterprise STEAM Co. @nickcorston

What made you become a teacher?

There are people out there who'd choke on their grits if I called myself a teacher.

So let's say I'm just a dad. A dad that finds himself in situations where people admit to learning stuff from me, whether they're in year one or the staff room.

The journey I'm on, to advocate for creativity in education, business and community, was kicked off by reading a TED talk (Sir Ken's) , reading half a book (Prof Claxton's) and meeting a bunch of creatives in a field at a festival (House of Fairy Tales)

Does that come close to a PGCE?

I have a Master's in Electronic Engineering but doubt that will further my cause enough to convince the cynics that I'm knowledgeable or qualified enough to do what I do.  

What is your favourite part of the job?

All good... I think it's good to highlight that teachers aren't always... err.... teachers. Or at least not labelled as such.

It takes a whole village....

Fave part... people. People. People. People.

Little people. Big people. Old people.

It's all about people. And people.

What has been best thing you have done at work this year?

Walking into an assembly hall in a crumbling school in a pretty challenged estate in Leeds.

There was a reception class, who were early for my assembly, with The Gorillaz on big screen Karaoke and a booming soundsystem.

Then the head teacher wandered in in a baggy three piece suit and multi coloured tie and gave me a big hug and dropped another tune and the hall went wild.

He then played an Elton John song I hadn't heard for years that blew me away

That evening he invited me to dinner with his family.

And a week later that head teacher won a TES Award for Community and Collaboration.

The highlight of my year was sharing #FunDayFriday at Parklands Primary with Chris Dyson.

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

The narrowing of the curriculum at the expense of the arts and creativity. And the toxic culture created by an obsession with testing.

What songs would be on your driving to work playlist?

The Late Nite Tuff Guy remix of 'Lovely Day' by Bill Withers.

(Go on... you know you want to: https://youtu.be/QCq7V-LimR8  )

All Greg Wilson's mixes off Soundcloud and 'Rocket Man' by Elton John to instantly take me back to that #FunDayFriday at Parklands Primary to remind me what creativity, education and community is all about.

'I'm not the man they think I am at home, I'm a rocket man burning up his fuse up here alone'

And a DiscoDad! ;-)

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

(Blimey they keep coming.... have you got a bot doing this?) That wasn't my answer...
There are 15 Questions!
You ARE a bot!!!
Does not compute, Error! Error!
Not so much funny but very touching... a child in a primary in Sunderland passed me a screwed up piece of paper saying
it was a cheque for a million pounds to thank me for the #RocketKids session I'd just done for their school. It had £1,00,000 written on it.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Burning a small coppice of wood for 2 hours to bring a brick oven up to temperature to cook a pizza for 90 seconds. #Fastslowfood

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

If I hadn't seen Sir Ken's TED Talk I'd probably still be in the world of brand marketing and digital innovation agencies that I sort of left behind but am now trying to connect with primary schools to run STEAM Co. Days like this web agency did recently:


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

The power of creativity and people to engage children, innovate business and connect communities.

That #ARTconnects, so perfectly illustrated in this short film:


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

English literature around the broadest range of texts to nurture a love of reading, inspiration and empathy.

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

An air rocket launcher made by two dads in a garage in California that I came across at the Maker Faire in New York. Using just a bike pump it fires rockets made from a sheet of A4 over 200 feet in the air.

Combined with the book 'Rocket Boys' it's the ultimate launch pad for learning.

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

Passion (I'm told).

You and I will get along.

If you had to pick 4 people (Twitter or otherwise) to invite to a dinner party who
would it be and why?

Would have to be four inspiring, engaging and entertaining people I've never had dinner with...

Grayson Perry - his thoughts on how art can connect people and communities is mind blowing.

Seth Godin - no one knows more about how to harness the connected economy to change human behaviour for good.  

Lemn Sissay - his warmth, creativity and never ending positivity is priceless

Sir Ken Robinson - because I quite like Marmite sometimes.

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

Don't do it.

Final Question: What drives you as a teacher?

Doing it.

Short but sweet, thanks.


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