Favourite Educationalist: Doug Lemov
Favourite Book: Why Don’t Students Like School? by Daniel Willingham
One thing I’d change: Lessen teacher workload.
Why I teach: Sounds clichéd, but after university I wanted a job where I was knew I was having a positive social impact. I also know first-hand what a profound impact teachers can have upon their students, so I wanted to work with young people (particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds) and encourage them to aim for the very best universities.
Focus: BTEC and Health & Social Care
Favourite Educationalist: bell hooks, Lawrence Stenhouse, Dylan Wiliam
Favourite Book: Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks
One thing I’d change: Reduce stigma around people with perceived differences - whether it be their background, their levels of needs, their language.
Why I teach: Teaching was always the plan. By leading on BTEC and teaching vocational subjects, I can see the direct impact of my classroom practices on the lives of not only my students, but their beneficiaries on work experience and apprenticeship courses. It gives them a drive forward and a sense of purpose - just like school did for me!
Favourite Educationalist: Gareth Coombes
Favourite Book: Effective Teaching in Schools - Theory and Practice by Chris Kyriacou
One thing I’d change: League tables and school banding
Why I teach:Whilst studying as a music student in Liverpool, I picked up some private instrumental tuition which I enjoyed. Through that, I found a job working with underprivileged children in the Everton Valley area of the city, teaching brass to small groups, and found myself enjoying the progress the children made through learning. Having come from a family of educators (my mother is a teacher and my step-dad is a retired teacher educator and OFSTED trained professional), it seemed the right course to take in applying for a PGCE at Liverpool Hope University.
Anna Wickham Smith
Favourite Educationalist: My favourites are the ones whose classroom doors I have loitered in and watch teach when I should have been taking my own class; Michael Robinson, Jeni Pearson, Olivia Bragg, Emma Jackson, Ruth Thomas.
Favourite Book: Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck
One thing I’d change: A greater focus on mental health, for both pupils and teachers. It is a common thread running through the classroom and teaching the life skills to look after mental health I think is really important.
Why I teach: I finished my degree in Psychology and went to be an LSA at my old primary school whilst I thought about next steps. Watching the teacher I thought 'I could do that' plus I have always loved learning, so from then I started my PGCE.
Focus: Anthropology, Religion, Humanities
Favourite Educationalist: Bell Hooks
Favourite Book: Slow Teaching by Jamie Thom
One thing I’d change: Funding for smaller class size
Why I teach: A passion for social justice drew me to the profession via the Teach First mission of addressing educational disadvantage.
Favourite Educationalist: Shonette Bason-Wood
Favourite Book: When the Adults Change Everything Changes by Paul Dix
One thing I’d change: Educators using their voices to make changes to policy and practice
Why I teach: I was really influenced by the great Science teachers that I had during high school.
Focus: English, Leadership
Favourite Educationalist: Helen Timperley, John Dunlosky and Tom Sherrington
Favourite Book: Don’t Change the Light Bulbs curated by Rachel Jones, Legacy by James Kerr, Why don’t Students Like School? by Daniel Willingham
One thing I’d change: Greater opportunities to share good practice and collaborate with colleagues from different educational contexts.
Why I teach: I have always had a passion and enthusiasm for all things literary and lexically pleasing, and hoped that teaching would offer the opportunity to share this knowledge of great texts and inspirational authors with others. Furthermore, whether it’s the complexity of Chaucer or the silliness of Disney karaoke, I very much enjoy the range of challenges and experiences we face on a daily basis in the classroom.
Favourite Educationalist: Dylan Wiliam
Favourite Book: Flow by Mihaly Csikczentmihalyi, Drive by Daniel Pink, Mindset by Carol Dweck.
One thing I’d change: Make teacher training 2-years
Why I teach:I was good at explaining scientific ideas to people, I did some voluntary work with children and enjoyed it, and thought it looked like a fun and noble profession. And I had worked in an office job, a care home, and in hospitality and catering, and was not drawn to any of them, or to academia.
Focus: Secondary SEN
Favourite Educationalist: Sonia Blanford
Favourite Book: Born to Fail by Sonia Blanford
One thing I’d change: Greater investment in pre-school provision.
Why I teach: I was teaching English to adults in Turkey and quickly realised how much I enjoyed it. There is camaraderie when people are learning together and it is a privilege to be part of the process.
Focus: Primary Leadership and SEN
Favourite Educationalist: Liz Gerschel, Mary Myatt.
Favourite Book: Leadership with a Moral Purpose by Will Ryan. High Challenge, Low Threat Mary Myatt.
One thing I’d change: Increased funding for SEN Children in mainstream Schools. The way we talk about the profession so we can retain and gain a high calibre of professional.
Why I teach: I had some inspirational teachers and on receiving a great education, wanted to give someone the same in return. After completing my Philosophy degree, I had a few years in different sectors and then decided I was ready to teach. I've had no real 'Career plan' but have enjoyed every role and challenge so far.
Focus: Early years
Favourite Educationalist: Anna Ephgrave.
Favourite Book: Visible Learning for Teachers by John Hattie.
One thing I’d change: The idea that we do things because that’s the way they’ve always been done. I want to challenge the status quo and encourage people in education to ask “why?” more often.
Why I teach: I love being with children, they’re magical. And they seem to quite like me!
Focus: Deputy Head, English
Favourite Educationalist: David Crystal
Favourite Book: The Learning Rainforest by Tom Sherrington
One thing I’d change: More emphasis on children becoming global citizens
Why I teach:I decided to go into teaching following the completion of my BA in Linguistics at Sussex University. The modules that we studied on phonology and child acquisition of language ignited an interest in how children learn. I did some voluntary work in a local Primary School and decided that it was the path I wanted to follow. Alongside this, I have always felt passionately about the content of the curriculum and the importance of children receiving a well-rounded education. I wanted to have the chance to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for learning with the next generation.
Favourite Educationalist: Tait Coles
Favourite Book: Never Mind the Inspectors: Here’s Punk Learning by Tait Coles
One thing I’d change: Endpoint exams
Why I teach:I was drawn into the teaching profession from the feet upwards. I had always worked with children as a sports coach, and I had a love of literature that I didn't shed after my degree. Someone suggested I should be a teacher, as a joke that was also not-a-joke. After that, I seemed to keep walking into places from then on; Universities, schools, the sort of places where being a teacher made increasing sense to my life.
Focus: Special Education
Favourite Educationalist: Lev Vygotsky
Favourite Book: The Lorax by Dr Seuss. The punchline ”unless...” is what makes education transformational rather than transactional.
One thing I’d change: To break the tyranny of the intellect as the sole purpose of developing children’s minds, in favour of building confidence, resilience, independence and socialisation as the purpose of education for the 21st Century.
Why I teach: I am a third generation teacher, following my mother and two grandparents, in fact I can trace my ancestry back to William Sinyard, a village school teacher in Lincolnshire in the 1820s, so I might have unconsciously felt the pull of the genetic tractor beam, but what really drew me into teaching was the opportunity to change the world.
Favourite Educationalist: Doug Lemov
Favourite Book: The Teacher Gap by Rebecca Allen & Sam Sims
One thing I’d change: Get rid of fads which increase workload
Why I teach:I was drawn to teaching as a child when I would help my English teacher mother at her school in the holidays. After teaching TEFL in Barcelona for four years I thought it was about time to properly qualify as a teacher.
Focus: Teaching & Learning
Favourite Educationalist: Craig Barton at the moment
Favourite Book: How I wish I’d taught Maths by Craig Barton
One thing I’d change: Narrowing the curriculum
Why I teach: Because it’s the only job I’ve ever really wanted to do. I couldn’t imagine going to work and not having the variety that teaching offers. Some days are a 2/10 but some are an 11/10 - those are what I teach for.
Focus: Headteacher, English & KS1
Favourite Educationalist: Vic Goddard
Favourite Book: Harry Potter!
One thing I’d change: Pointless high stakes accountability.
Why I teach:My mum & dad said 'don't do it'. To be fair they were both teachers. I did try some other jobs but they were very boring and mostly involved moving paper from one tray to another. I like the challenge of teaching & the fact that every day is different.
Focus: Music and Leadership
Favourite Educationalist: Mary Myatt, Phil Beadle, Dylan Wiliam, Bill Rogers
Favourite Book: Brave Heads by Dave Harris, Toxic Childhood by Sue Palmer, Taking Control by Paul Garvey
One thing I’d change: Funding to pay staff properly.
Why I teach: I wanted to work with children. And I loved primary school. Seemed sensible to do both for a living. I did 2 week’s work experience at a primary school after my O levels, and it wasn’t the one I had attended (I feel quite strongly about that), and I loved it. That was it then, all systems go for primary teaching.
Focus: Headteacher, English, pedagogy
Favourite Educationalist: Vygotsky
Favourite Book: Designing Tasks in Secondary Education by Ian Thompson
One thing I’d change: More non-contact time to plan and reflect on practice
Why I teach:I always wanted to be a teacher. I used to sit my toys down and take the register. It was writing on the blackboard that was the real draw!
Favourite Educationalist: David Didau
Favourite Book: Memorable Teaching by Peps Mccrea, A Kestral for a Knave by Barry Hines
One thing I’d change: More funding for all services related to education including mental health services, NHS services, social work, learning support and, of course, teaching and learning.
Why I teach: I slightly fell into it. I was extremely fortunate that I received a good education at my state secondary school in Hull which allowed me to pursue Higher Education. For a long time, I wanted to work with young people who were not as lucky. After completing my M.Phil, I saw an advertisement for a Head of Co-curriular role at a school in London and it sounded perfect. Having participated in a number of extra-curricular activities at school and university, I valued the impact that these activities could have on an individual's academic education. I quickly became more involved in the pastoral and academic life of the school and last year, left in order to train at a SCITT. I'm extremely excited to begin my NQT year but have already signed up to help run various clubs and societies!
Focus: 6th Form, English and Media
Favourite Educationalist: Doug Lemov and anyone whose work is evidence based and rooted in real classroom experience.
Favourite Book: Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Carol Dweck’s work on Mindset, Csikszentmihalyi’s books on creativity and the psychology of happiness
One thing I’d change: Improve the status of the teaching profession.
Why I teach:I come from a long line of teachers so I suppose it’s in my genes! It was only in my mid-twenties that I really decided to embrace the inevitable, though. I had been working in marketing and doing quite well at that, but it was a pretty thankless job, and after a particularly bad day at the office, it dawned on me I wasn’t doing anything I was passionate about and wanted to use my skills for something that, for me, had more meaning. I was lucky enough to be able to carry on with some marketing project work in the evenings whilst I did my PGCE – my first experience, I suppose, of flexible working.
Favourite Educationalist: Doug Lemov
Favourite Book: Seven Myths About Education by Daisy Christodoulou
One thing I’d change: Remove the need, or pressure, for students to specialise in year 12.
Why I teach: Whilst studying for a maths degree I completed a year placement in a private sector technology company. I’d always loved maths and hoped to use it in the technology field but found it wasn’t as applicable as I’d hoped. I also agreed with Teach First’s mission of providing better opportunities for disadvantaged pupils, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and apply to be a maths teacher through Teach First.
Focus: Science (Biology)
Favourite Educationalist: Aristotle
Favourite Book: Leadership Matters by Andy Buck
One thing I’d change: I would allow for a broader curriculum with recognised and worthwhile qualifications that were accepted by performance tables so all students could achieve and feel success.
Why I teach: As cliché as it sounds, I wanted to make a difference to the life chances of young people and give back to the education system which gave me so many opportunities that I could never have imagined. However, I only realised I wanted to teach following 6 months working with secondary school students in a rural area in Ghana in 2010.
Focus: English, Department Head
Favourite Educationalist: I've had a great year with Doug Lemov
Favourite Book: Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov, Closing the Vocabulary Gap by Alex Quigley.
One thing I’d change: The high stakes we put on the outcomes students get.
Why I teach: I was drawn into teaching through a sense of moral obligation to give something back to society - to, hopefully, leave things better for subsequent generations. That might sound rather grandiose, but I'm a great believer that the things we do should have a benefit for everyone and teaching seemed like the most appropriate way to do this. I'm also really passionate about the impact of storytelling and teaching English is the perfect place to explore this.
Focus: Philosophy & Religion
Favourite Educationalist: Harry Fletcher-Wood
Favourite Book: Seven Myths About Education by D. Christodoulou
One thing I’d change: Its combative nature: Schools vs OFSTED, Curriculum vs Pastoral, Teachers vs SLT, etc
Why I teach: I was not a diligent young man and having achieved poor A-Level results, I was at a loss at to what I should do. At that time a Deputy Head at my old school took pity on me and encouraged me to apply to be a teaching assistant (and caretaker) at my old school. I loved that job, and from that point knew I wanted to teach. So then I had to go to university, and managed to get in due to his letter of recommendation. I owe him a great deal. From that starting point I have been continually inspired by seeing the power education can have on the lives of young people.
Focus: Maths and English, SENCo
Favourite Educationalist: Dylan Wiliam
Favourite Book: Graham Nuttall's Hidden Lives of Learners
One thing I’d change: League tables abolished.
Why I teach: As a TA for many years, I could see the difference that teachers make to the lives of children. This inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and get qualified.
Focus: Leadership: evidence, professional development, school culture
Favourite Educationalist: Not keen on favourites, but some of Plato’s thoughts on the purpose of education resonate
Favourite Book: Evidence-informed Policy and Practice in Education by Chris Brown, The Education Debate by Stephen J Ball, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
One thing I’d change: Increase budgets for schools
Why I teach: I grew up with a teacher for a parent and witnessing that was enough to make me determined never to teach. However, after a few years in an office job while I did my degree in the evenings, I decided that office work was definitely not for me either. Late night politics discussions at the university bar, solidified a clichéd interest in changing the world for the better. After a short time working as a teaching assistant, I applied for my PGCE and have loved it ever since. While some days can be tough, it continues to be an incredibly rewarding job - every day is different and unexpected. I have been fortunate enough to work with amazing and inspiring colleagues. Plus in what other career can you get paid to read stories?
Focus: Early Years
Favourite Educationalist: I take inspiration from all practitioners and academics. I couldn’t name just one!
Favourite Book: Best Practice in the Early Years by Alistair Bryce-Clegg
One thing I’d change: Reduce the testing culture and pressure from students and teachers in order to enjoy learning for learning’s sake.
Why I teach: I left the corporate sector disillusioned and wanting to do something worthwhile.
Focus: English, Drama, Media
Favourite Educationalist: Doug Lemov
Favourite Book: Reading Reconsidered by Doug Lemov and Colleen Driggs
One thing I’d change: Smaller class size.
Why I teach: I wandered into it by mistake. I'd originally applied for midwife training but the course was deferred, so I did a PGCE as - in those days - I could get a grant and it seemed like an easy option. It wasn't, but I loved it. There is nothing quite like working with teenagers because for all the bad press they receive, they enjoy learning and challenge and achieving.
Focus: SENDCO, Maths teacher
Favourite Educationalist: Gareth D Morewood
Favourite Book: To be perfectly honest, I don’t have a favourite educational book. I consult many books especially books about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and books about understanding the needs of children.
One thing I’d change: The idea that if a child is not academically capable, he should not consider mainstream education. We are in the business of educating children, therefore if a child is coping emotionally and socially and is happy in school then mainstream should definitely be an option.
Why I teach: Becoming a teacher was a childhood dream. Growing up in Jamaica, we often “played school” and on many occasions I was the “teacher”. During Secondary school I chose subjects that would allow me to work in the financial sector or become a business or Maths teacher. After working for two years in on office, I made the decision to start teacher training.
Favourite Educationalist: Peter Abelard
Favourite Book: The Schoolmaster by AC Benson
One thing I’d change: Scrap the ‘accountability’ agenda.
Why I teach:This is a bad one. I was doing some tedious administrative job wondering how on earth I'd wasted my education and still living in the town I went to university in when I got a call from my old college tutor - did I fancy a year teaching history at a posh public school? That's how it worked in the good old days...
Focus: PE, Primary
Favourite Educationalist: Dylan Wiliam
Favourite Book: How to Survive Your First Year in Teaching by Sue Cowley
One thing I’d change: The idea that success is based on KS tests.
Why I teach:I was drawn into the teaching profession by my teachers. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at school and feel that this was down to the teachers and the job they did. I helped out within the PE department during my time at 6th form, and my passion for teaching grew from there.