Jane Wyn

What do you most enjoy about teaching English?
 
I probably most enjoy teaching poetry to Years 7, 8 and 9 because they get so much out of it. A novel will take weeks or even a whole term, but we can read and study a poem in a single lesson.

It's great to be able to look at a poem from beginning to end, learn about the techniques used to write it, and see how poetry can be really relevant and fun.
 
Have you found anything about the job surprising in your first year?
 
It's harder to get their attention than I thought it would be! Especially for a full lesson. You can't just stand there and deliver a lesson and expect them to be quiet. I think I had quite an idealistic view about that and found the reality a bit surprising. It's important to keep a good pace to a lesson and set clear targets.
 
Is it all about preparation and planning?
 

Yes, but sometimes you realise that a lesson will not work as prepared. For example, you have to account for the fact that it's Friday afternoon and the last period of the day. At times like that I try to do lots of drama activities to bring the text to life and engage the children more.
 
How do you start your classes off and do you take the same approach with all your classes?
 

You need to follow a consistent approach. Never speak when they're speaking; wait for silence, especially at the start of the lesson. You need to calm them down before you start trying to teach because they will have come straight from crowded corridors with lots of noise and activity.

With Key Stage 4, who are doing their GCSEs, you treat them slightly differently. You stop short of being their friend but you treat them as young adults and you never talk down to them. It is really important to develop good one-to-one relationships with them so that you can be there to help if they need it.
 

North and Mid Wales Centre of Teacher Education  South East Wales Centre for Teacher Education South West Wales Centre for Teacher Education