Trainee English teacher Emma began teaching at Paddington Academy in September after a career as a university lecturer – what has changed since then?
When I think back to September, I can’t believe how little time has actually passed. The training and support I’ve received at Paddington over the course of the last six months has facilitated my development as a teacher to such an extent that I barely recognise myself! There’s still a lot to learn but I look forward to continuing to improve my teaching practice at Paddington.
One of the key lessons I’ve learnt since September is the importance of planning for precision – knowing exactly what I want my students to learn and how I will get them there. In theory, this might sound obvious, but in practice it’s incredibly difficult. As an English teacher, I could spend hours discussing a strategically placed semi-colon in a poem, but this information isn’t necessarily going to contribute to the development of my students’ overall understanding and knowledge of the text. It’s so important to know what will contribute to learning development and what might hinder it. In the coming months, I look forward to embedding some of what I’ve learnt since September, particularly strategies for developing writing and oracy.
‘Why is Animal Farm still relevant today?’, ‘Why can’t Juliet just leave her parents’ house and live with Romeo?’, ‘Is the Inspector real?’ – these are the kinds of questions I get asked by students every day and each one is a highlight. I love coming into work and tackling important philosophical and cultural questions with my students. These kinds of questions teach me to think differently about the texts.