A bbc Interview with @MissC_1717

My next interview is with Primary Teacher, Jane. Otherwise known, mysteriously, as 'Miss C'.

Introduce yourself, mysterious one.
I’m Jane and I’m heading into my 3rd year of teaching. I trained with Year 1, did my NQT year with the most gorgeous Year 4 class and last year with some fabulous Year 2s. This year I’m sticking with year 2. I must admit, it feels good to be sticking to the same year group for once!
What made you become a teacher?

Oh gosh. Right, this is going to sound like a sob story fit for The X Factor or something but bear with me, it has a happy ending! Before I was a teacher, I worked as a healthcare professional. I worked mainly on intensive care and with the respiratory patients. I absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, I was also in an extremely abusive relationship for the entire time too. Now, people often assume that it’s the physical side of DA that is hardest to deal with but it’s absolutely not. Bruises heal. The scars that vicious words make don’t so easily. When I finally left him, I was an empty shell. He almost destroyed me and actually even after I ‘recovered’, it didn’t matter how many well respected people I worked with told me I was good at my job - I couldn’t shake the demons he had planted in my mind. I’m a natural perfectionist (in its truest sense that nothing is ever perfect so I’m never happy!) anyway but it got to the point where I thought, right, I either carry on and maybe never shake off the self doubt or I do something else that he hasn’t ever known about and start with a fresh slate. I am by no means a natural born teacher - it was something I’d considered at school but I was far too shy and awkward to ever stand up in front of a class of children and teach them. However, my friend who is a secondary maths teacher had mentioned the SCITT route into teaching so I decided I would apply and if I got a place, great but if I didn’t then I’d just have to get over my confidence crisis! I honestly didn’t think I’d get a look in on the course - I had zero school experience, zero confidence and, as an outstanding ITT provider, I knew the competition would be fierce. The day the programme manager rang me to tell me they absolutely wanted me on the course was the day I finally felt I’d ‘survived’ the ordeal that had lasted for years before. I can honestly say that teaching has made me find me again, which, for a long time, I thought I would never get back. And that is how I became a teacher. Well done if you made it to the end of that ramble!

Sounds like you were made for teaching. So many of us (me included) go straight in from College/Uni without having lived, for good or otherwise. You experiences will help the children in your care.

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

The best thing I have done this year is survive! My first SATS year and we got through unscathed. Seriously, I think getting through the year, not even thinking about SATS and getting a class of 29 through them with no stress and no drama and with them not even noticing we did them is something I’m really proud of. We didn’t pound practice papers. We didn’t do masses of extra English and maths to the detriment of other subjects and we had a lot of fun along the way. And, guess what, they did really well to boot! If I had to pick a specific lesson or unit, I’d say our Jack and the Beanstalk work. I’m still waiting for my BAFTA for Best Actress because, quite frankly, my tantrum when my TA came back from the shop with magic beans instead of the coffee beans I’d given her my last £5 to buy was an absolute piece of art. I threw the beans outside, used good old FX Guru to show a Beanstalk growing where I’d throw them and the children absolutely believed the whole thing. Their stories were epic and it was a lot of fun!

I'm sure your trophy is in the post. Ask @grahamandre I think his is also missing!

What 3 songs would be on your driving to work playlist?

This is the worst kind of question for an indecisive Libran. I’d have to choose songs that wake me up: 1) One Dance - Drake 2) Not Afraid - Eminem 3) Crazy in Love - Beyoncé

Quite decisive, in the end.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Never guilty ... but I am obsessed with the Crime and Investigation channel. Any programme to do with crime, murder and forensics ... I’m there! I love all fly on the wall docos too - 24 hours in A&E / Police Custody, Don’t Pay, We’ll Take It Away ... yes please! I don’t watch a huge amount of TV and I don’t tend to watch series you have to make a commitment to watch at the same time every week but give me a programme you can dip in and out of as you wish and I love it!

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

A forensic pathologist for the Home Office. 100%!

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

I’m a bit of an eco-warrior. I try my best to buy as ethically as I can with the least environmental imprint that I can make. I think my dad instilled in us a strong sense of what is right and that we can use our voices to do good in the world and it’s something I think is really important to pass into the next generation. Too many people don’t think their one voice can make a real difference so I try really hard to give my children a voice and show them that they can and do have an impact and put voices together that are shouting the same things and the effect gets magnified. I am also absolutely passionate about not putting glass ceilings on any child and giving children a safe environment in which to take risks and flourish. I think, being a physiotherapist has really helped me be a better teacher as you have to, in a really short space of time, build a rapport with someone so that they are willing to do things that hurt them and scare them, otherwise they won’t get better. It’s similar with teaching (although no pain!) Some children are terrified of being wrong so I try to build a really strong classroom mantra of just trying our best and celebrating mistakes and what we learn from them. From that, they all truly believe that they can ‘do it’ and, do you know, very often ... they do!

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

Anything to do with the human body. I’m fascinated by it and always have been. My absolute favourite lesson ever was last year teaching digestion to year 4 where we replicated the system using all manner of every day items and I will never forget the squeals of pure delight when the children pushed their fake poo out of their cup rectum into a bowl of water and heard the plop! On a serious note, we then wrote stories from the perspective of a piece of food being eaten and their in depth understanding and knowledge of the digestive system was just brilliant.

Sounds lovely.

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

Tricky. I have super high expectations for all my children (and for myself!) and I do expect them to do a lot for themselves otherwise they’ll never learn. Can you open this banana for me? No, but I’ll teach you how to open it yourself. Can you lift me up to the monkey bars? No, but I’ll show you how to climb up yourself... It’s really important to me to try to build an intrinsic system of motivation in the children that I teach. I don’t reward anything with stickers, etc. as when they get older (sadly!) there won’t be someone standing there handing them a gold star. I want them to reward from within and get a sense of satisfaction when they learn something new so that they are self driven learners with an inbuilt motivation. Other than that, I always get my classes to self register as I find it frees up so much of my time first thing / straight after lunch so that I can hit the ground running as soon as the children come in (we have a ten minute rolling registration system). I can do a quick intervention, give some feedback, actually have time to talk to the children, share a book, etc. The children stick a lolly stick with their lunch choice into the pocket chart, settle straight in and my lovely TA fills out the actual register quickly once the bell goes. I definitely feel I use my time more effectively doing this.

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

The dreaded question! (Again with the tough decisions!) Non Twitter: I’d choose some eye candy so either Eminem or Steve McManaman (?)!  An author who I’d love to learn more how and why they think certain ways about life so Burgess or Orwell. An inspirational woman so maybe Mary Wollstonecraft. And someone like Pink or Beyoncé so they could teach me some moooves. Twitter-wise, it’s really tricky. I joined Twitter at a time when I was feeling really disillusioned by teaching. I felt like the way I thought about teaching and the ideas I had were wrong as no one else seemed to think the same way I did. (Which isn’t unusual for me, I still have forgotten ) (apart from my amazing English tutor from my training year who was just amazing and encouraged me to question and challenge!) So I joined Twitter and to find that there are like-minded educators out there has seriously been a revelation. I’m never confident in my own abilities and achievements but to have the encouragement and support of people I really admire has been such a game changer for me as a teacher. There are dozens of Tweeters I could choose but rules are rules so I’ll choose 4 that are especially close to my heart: - he’ll get invited to so many of these parties but I adore Ashley so he’s invited to mine too. Not only does he make laugh so much, he’s someone I absolutely look up to in the world of teaching. Such an inspirational dude and a very sweet and kind person too - always offering advice and support (free!), delivered in his usual no-nonsense style! (Plus, I’ve heard he’s pretty nifty in the kitchen so he might cook the dinner for us!) I adore this lady. I honestly do. I aspire to be like her in every way haha. I think she is such an innovative educator and I love how she weaves her EYFS experience through every year group she teaches. I want to be in her class and I would want my children to be taught by her at least once! Plus, again, such a lovely, genuine person. I know that it would be so much fun drinking cocktails with her at my party. These two would have to share a chair (and I know they wouldn’t mind as they are super nice!) and - I’ve had such a tough term (nothing to do with school, mind!) and these two have been so supportive and lovely. Their encouragement and support has meant so much to me and sometimes have been the little blasts of light in the darkness. I am a very closed off person. I don’t trust easily, I’m very guarded and the fact that there are people that you’ve never met who show how kind and caring they are means so much. These boys definitely deserve an award for nicest people on Twitter (and I would absolutely present it to them at my party!) The final seat would absolutely be given to - I would love to work for her. I think she’s such a lovely lady and an inspirational leader. I think it’s amazing how down to earth she is and I have so many laughs with her when we discuss vital topics, such as guilty crushes, how you construct the perfect cream tea, etc. We would have such fun! (I also must give a special mention to my buddy who, right from the start of my Twitter journey, has been so lovely! A little ray of positivity and I couldn’t talk about my favourite people on Twitter without mentioning his name. Really hoping there wasn’t a word count limit for this as I have blown it out the water!


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