A bbc Interview with @teacherglitter

Please introduce yourself, O Mother of Dragons.

Primary School Teacher of 14 years; currently in Year 5 but specialised in EYFS for many years before making the move to Upper KS2. Creative learning and child led hands on exploration (from early years days) has shaped my career and everything I do has an element of imagination, role play and creativity.
What made you become a teacher?

Teaching is in the family. My parents were both teachers; my Grandfather was a teacher (and Ofsted inspector but we will skim past that nugget) and my brother is a history teacher. I knew I would be pulled into it eventually but I also had a burning passion for the environment and decided to do an BSc in Environmental Biology instead. I worked in that sector for a while but when I had children, my desire to teach and support children as a career was ignited. I decided I wanted to be in school as much as possible, to get hands on experience, so embarked on the GTP route into teaching.

Sounds like an interesting route, I'm also a child of a teacher. It's a burden we have to bear.

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

I was terrified (and also cried) when I was asked to move into Year 5 at the start of this academic year. Not only did I feel inadequate in my knowledge of upper KS2 curriculum constraints, I lamented the loss of all the sparkly, magical things I did with little children. The first thing I did was see them as children- not big kids. And children, no matter what age, still love awe and wonder and hooks and sparkle. I have absolutely loved every second being in Year 5 and am glad to be returning to it after the summer. I am most proud of changing creative literacy within Year 5. My stand out moments were my plastic pollution work (which included a great unit on Flotsam) and creating explorer scrap books to document all the learning we did with Vashti Hardy’s book Brightstorm.

And the rest, you share such amazing work. Even the Facebook groups are impressed. F.

What 3 songs would be on your driving to work playlist?
What a question! Music is totally dependent on mood and timing when driving to work. As I take my dragons in the car with me, it is also dictated by them so spent many months listening to Young Voices songs for choir, the Greatest Showman and Radio One this academic year. As a hypothetical question however, I would like to blast a bit of Muse ‘Resistance’, ‘Doors People Are Strange’ and drop in some Beastie Boys.. possibly ‘sabotage.

I'm also burdened with child-friendly songs. 4. What is your guilty pleasure?

This one is so sad I am cringing at myself. I am obsessed with Murder She Wrote. Jessica Fletcher is an absolute hero. When I was a child, I legitimately thought she was real and confused her with Agatha Christie.

Who wouldn't love a crime-solving author?

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

I suppose I have already been it, to a degree, as an environmental biologist in my previous career. If I wasn’t teaching, I think I would drift naturally back into the environmental sector; possibly with a teaching twist educating adults/children about current issues things we can do to help. If I could do anything however, I would like to have an enormous Victorian style glass house and grow orchids.

Not the answer I was expecting!

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

The Arts are my passion at home and in work. I love literature, drama, dancing, music, drawing, painting, making, doing. I am also very passionate about SEN and children lost in education due to my personal family experience.

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

Subject wise, I think I would chose creative literacy as potentially can involve all the things I love like art, drama, music, reading and writing. I have really enjoyed all the work we have done this year in our creative literacy lessons: from dragon eggs, Grendel’s arm and sand trays as hooks, to writing to Theresa May about plastic pollution and discovering the glorious life of Katherine Johnson. Topic wise, I would teach dragons on loop for any year group. I am really exciting that we will be launching Mantle of the Expert as a school approach and the dragon mantle I have planned excites me so much. In fact, all the new Mantles I have planned do. I get excited a lot about teaching if you didn’t notice. And I adore planning things for the children that I think will really excite and inspire them.

Sounds amazing. Mantle just adds a layer of experience for the children that wouldn't be there otherwise.

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

This will probably be my shortest answer, but for me consistency, modelling clear boundaries (with consequences) and allowing for same day repair and resolution to take place is the key. Making time to sit down with a child who has struggled and give them the tools to understand their actions and feel empowered because they have been part of that process. I am a big believer you can’t teach a child anything until the Maslow is nailed.

In addition to that, my mum always taught us ‘never to go to bed on an argument’ and I use that in my classroom. Never send a child home feeling a situation hasn’t been sorted. Especially when it involves a behavioural mistake.

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

Ooh. Will have to think about this one ...

Will have to do one at time so I get handles right. Am going for non-teacher tweeters for a change. The first would be Lucy Cooke as I think her stories about sloths and animals would be fascinating.

The second would be Chris Packham as not only his work with wildlife is fascinating, I would love to chat SEN and aspergers with him.

The third sounds a bit random but would be Michelle Obama as I find her work championing education inspiring and she just seems such an amazing woman.

Finally Norman Reedus because if he can cope with a zombie apocalypse, he can sort my three dragons out so I can eat and talk in peace  And because it is Norman Reedus.

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

Best advice was in my NQT year to not shut myself away and allow the wonderful people around me to support me. I was so busy working through my lunch and squirrelled away in my classroom in the first term, I lost sight of the support and friendship a team of great staff provides. Worst advice? Maybe not advice but I hated people telling me ‘when you’ve been teaching as long as me, you won’t be bothered with displays and making props. The glow fades’... Well guess what? I have been teaching 14 years and I spend more time planning and making exciting things for my children than I ever did as an NQT. Don’t let someone else’s experiences dull your glitter.


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