A BBC Interview with @Mrs_ipad_W
- I'm @Mrs_iPad_W , Heather Wright, born and bred in Anfield, Liverpool, but in an Everton supporting family!
I teach at The District CE Primary School in Newton le Willows. I'm a y5 teacher and Y4-y6 team leader.
- What made you become a teacher?
I didn't always want to be a teacher. At one stage, I thought I was going to become a physiotherapist and chose my a levels with that in mind. But I changed my mind at the last minute, when it came to applying for university places. Thank goodness! I think I would've made a terrible physio!!!
I'd done quite a bit of youth work at that point, leading a Sunday school class and volunteering at mid week clubs. I just knew I was patient with children and I loved spending time with them. I loved preparing activities for them to enjoy.
One of the best decisions I ever made to join our profession!
- What is your favourite part of the job?
- It most definitely has to be the children. Those moments of magic when a spark is lit or the penny drops. It still gives me a buzz every time!
Best bit of the day is always novel time, especially as I close the book at a great part and the class rings out with 'oooooooh!'
- What has been best thing you have done at work this year?
- I've been working on STEM this year with a kind of two-pronged attack: getting more girls into STEM through STEM linked books and getting more boys into reading through STEM activities linked to books!!
One of the successes has been the family workshops that we've run. I was inspired by one of the live stream talks at Oxford Reading Spree by Nick Swarbrick. It's really made me consider how we share information, ideas and expectations with carers.
I wanted the STEM family sessions to be less 'thou shalt' and more 'come and learn together'. There were no power points nor 'you must do this'. It was more join in with us. There were opportunities for us as School to model good practice but also room for families to do things their own way.
One of my favourites was for Reception children and their families. @MrsHughesx and I planned it for our Maths Through Stories Week. The session began and ended with me reading 'Bubble Trouble' by Tom Percival. Then we had several maths linked activities that families could play, inspired by some activities shared by @MathsMummy .As families played, we joined in, modelling questioning and praising good maths and book talk. The hall was buzzing with learning and smiles. Those carers who attended took home a copy of the book for their child and a maths goody bag so they could continue the learning at home.
- What's the most frustrating thing about teaching?
- The writing interim framework
- What songs would be on your driving to work playlist?
- I have a drive of 45mins and I like to listen to Radio 2! I'll sing-a-long to most songs (loudly and probably badly!)
- What is the funniest thing a child has ever said/written in your class?
- Oh children say the best things! I must remember to write more down!
One that still makes smile from a while ago. I was teaching in year one. Not sure why but I'd mentioned garlic. One boy excitedly joins in shouting: "I know them garlics. You know... off Dr Who."
Another time I said something funny I was teaching Y1/2 in the ICT suite with 3 eager student teachers ready to observe my lesson (no pressure!)
"Right, children. Today, we're going to learn how to use a Word Wank .... I'm mean Work Bank!"
The children didn't notice of course. But the three students just about managed to keep their sniggers in, as I glowed red and swiftly moved on!
- What is your guilty pleasure?
- Oh dear. I won't judge.
- If you weren´t a teacher, what would you be and why?
- Honestly, teaching is just part of who I am. Find it difficult to imagine doing anything other than being involved in teaching.
But I love to cook. I'm not bad at it too, so maybe a chef.
- What are you passionate about (teaching-related or not)?
- Well although it's a bit obvious, it's got to be reading!
If you share your enthusiasm and passion with children, that's what they will respond to. They ride your momentum until it clicks and become real for them. Then they can join in the joy of sharing the book love with others.
I love to hear children discussing books at playtime or on corridors. When it's in their own time, of their own accord, you know it's real then.
I'm ever the optimist. I love to find people's strengths and work with those. When people feel valued they work at their best. Why wouldn't you want that situation?!
I guess Reading Rocks brings both of those together.
My other massive passion is my beautiful, wonderful 5 year old book worm. Sharing books with her that follow her passion of animals is just the best! Being a mum is the greatest job. It has made me a better teacher and leader too. You look at things slightly differently. It's really made me reflect and grow.
- If you had to pick one subject/topic to teach on a loop forever, what would it be?
- English. I love teaching reading, grammar and writing.
- What is the most effective resource/technology/app you use in the classroom?
- Of course, gorgeous, lovely and quality books!
But us ourselves as teachers and teaching assistants are the most valuable resource (and most expensive). It's important to look after yourself. I know I'm my own worst enemy sometimes and make myself too busy. I need to remember when to say no and to pace myself! A healthy teacher can teach at their best, bringing all the best qualities to the fore. Your enthusiasm, care and patience deliver your expertise in its best form.
Look after yourselves you lot! You'll never get to the end of your list and that's ok! Prioritise and trust your gut.
- What is the most effective routine/method/system you use in the classroom?
- Making daily reading sacrosanct is the best routine for every classroom. My class are read to everyday and have time to read to themselves everyday too. Time well spent.
- If you had to pick 4 people (Twitter or otherwise) to invite to a dinner party who
would it be and why?
- I'd quite like to meet Grayson Perry. What an interesting guy!
Next up, Rick Stein. Love his food. Love his programmes. Love Padstow too!!!
Then can I have Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy. I'm a massive Peaky Blinders fan! And Tom reads a great bedtime story
- What is the best and worst advice you have been given as a teacher?
- Do you know, I can't think of any particularly bad advice. Either I've been lucky not to get any or my brain has filtered it out!
Best advice - be consistently good everyday. It's not about stand out lessons: it's about consistency.
What drives you as a teacher?
Being the best I can be and bringing out the best in them. Each class is individual and full of individuals. I hope my enthusiasm encourages them, because their spark, individuality and enthusiasm encourages me.
- Who would you recommend for interview?
I'm going to go for a school librarian @bookloverJo How fantastic would it be to have a librarian in all primary schools. They can have such an amazing impact. I know what a great job @McfarlaneLesley has done at our school (and she's a wonderful TA for part of her timetable too!).