We decided to get to know the teachers across Great Britain who are most active on Instagram to get an understanding of what inspires and motivates these teachers, the opinions they have on UK education and what teaching methods they are using. We hope this blog post will help inspire other teachers across the UK. We will be following this blog post on to another where we interview more teachers.
Teaching is such an important part of a child's life growing up so it's incredibly beneficial for the teaching community to speak and connect in ways that can inspire others. In this blog post you will find several interviews with new and also experienced teachers, sharing their thoughts and advice for other teachers in the teaching community.
"I always had the desire to have a job that would be different every day! I wanted something fast paced, challenging and rewarding. Teaching is all of that and more. I love the ethos of our schools, how they feel like a family and I wanted to be a part of that. The school where I work now definitely has a family feel and is a real community."
"When I was in high school I had a history teacher who seemed to love his subject so much it was part of his every waking moment. You could see that in the way that he taught, all of us students adored his lessons because he brought a subject to life. I think this made me realise that passion is at the heart of teaching. If you get excited about something that is infectious, other people around you become excited about it too."
"Take all the advice you can, from all the people you meet - And then choose which pieces you want to take on board. Find your own way of doing things, there is nothing wrong with trial and error. Ask for feedback from your students; it will be the most brutal and rewarding feedback you will ever receive."
"Get through your NQT year, there is so much more freedom and joy in teaching after it."
"To love learning. To love play. To explore."
"I am wildly passionate about learning through play. It doesn’t matter how old children are there is always a way to hook them into learning through play. Last year we launched our outdoor adventure afternoons, we named them “adventure Friday”. There is so much to be learned from the outdoors, hands-on skills and having the time and space to connect with nature. When in doubt go and hug a tree!"
"Well-being is about understanding yourself and having a sense of self. Being able to express what you need or what you are capable of giving. For me this starts with emotional literacy, giving children and our young people the ability to express themselves emotionally. Teaching them that this is okay will be one of the greatest tools we equip them with at school. Well-being is essential to our young people and adults too. The catch up curriculum is not just about English and maths, it is about giving our children the chance to reconnect, the time to build friendships and chance to create memories at school. Teachers help to ship young lives, what a privilege!"
"I am currently in my third year of teaching and I’ve taught year 2 for all of those years."
"The most important part of my job is how I communicate with others: I’m constantly doing it so it needs to work well! I communicate with children, colleagues and parents daily! Being clear, coherent and approachable is very important."
"Teaching is tough and exhausting, but it’s also exciting and rewarding. We occasionally need to remind ourselves of that when it gets a bit much. That and the little people that we do it all for!"
"Since the UK was affected by COVID and had school closures, I have seen the value in outdoor/ forest school learning. Last year myself and my (FS trained) TA ran a weekly session within our school premises. The benefits were clear to see: fresh air, physical activity, team building, listening and communication, care for the environment, cross-curricula learning and of course lots of fun! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all incorporate an element of outdoor learning to our schools and classrooms!"
"I think that it is the small things we do in the classroom that add up to big changes. Children need to be explicitly taught that if they don’t like something, they have the right to say no. This should be reinforced both at school and at home. Lots of low level behaviour often continues because a child simply hasn’t said ‘no, stop it’ and it’s our job to let them know they have the right to say it! Praise is also an effective way to manage behaviour: catch a child doing the right thing and make them a model for other children. Children thrive on praise and will more likely repeat the same positive behaviour as a peer who has been praised!"
An Interview with Lauren
"I was inspired, like most young people, by the role models I had growing up. My infant school teachers were always my biggest inspiration. I remember I had a teacher who played the guitar to us all as we sat on the carpet, adoringly staring at her, mesmerised by her wondrous singing voice and the beautiful chorus she sang. I had another teacher who was the epitome of a cuddly grandma. She would scoop five of us under her arms & read us the most wonderful stories about princesses & dragons."
"I remember now how much their kind, calm & empathic ways influenced me & inspired me as a child & I knew that I wanted to be just like them when I grew up. To think that I may be that teacher to a child now makes me feel all warm & fluffy inside."
"The most important part of my job is being a constant for children who do not have a lot of constant in their lives. I am that one adult that shows up everyday & gives them the only smile they might receive, or the praise that inspires them to try harder & to do their best. The most important part of my job is every child that I teach."
"I’ve learnt that no matter how hard I try, I will NEVER complete a to do list! This job is demanding, everyday it throws up new problems, or new tasks that seem never ending! I have learnt to write my overwhelmingly long list down & cross out the things I have achieved. It has taken me a long time, but I am finally at peace with the fact that I may never quite cross everything off!"
"Children love to be praised & respected. Shouting is so last century in the classroom - it doesn’t work! I find that by praising those that are doing the right thing, you can get those who aren’t on board quicker than if you were to tell each child who is not listening, for example, to stop talking & concentrate. Also stickers! Most children love a sticker! Going back to the respect part, knowing your class is so incredibly important. Taking time at the beginning of the year to talk to them all, gives you a true insight into their world. Also having fun with them and making jokes here and there can inspire them & make them feel safe & valued."
"Continuous provision in KS1 classrooms should be mandatory. Children have the right to play everyday and by sitting them at desks we are taking away that fundamental right. Why aren’t we letting children take control of their own learning in the classroom? Why can’t they have wooden blocks to create amazing worlds where penguins live amongst mermaids or build incredible mazes to challenge their peers’ figures to a race out of the other end? We should let infant children be infants! Going back to the basics & looking at the Characteristic of Effective Learning would result in children who would be independent, creative, problem-solvers & risk-takers. Our current education system are letting children down by insisting on testing. Our teachers are overworked & undervalued and our children are the ones who suffer. Bring back guitar-playing, cuddly grandma teachers!"
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