I have been asked by the SHINE charity to write a short blog post about being inspired at school. to find out more about SHINE, there is a link at the bottom of this post.
The question posed was…What inspired me at school?
I honestly can’t remember. When I was a child, I spent four years at Riders Infant School and then a year at the Junior school before asking my parents to move me elsewhere. I was an able child, it was (and is) a deprived area and I wasn’t being challenged enough. I certainly don’t think I was special at all, but I felt that I could do it all. I do remember moments when I was proved wrong, like when I completed the whole of the Maths workbook but got lots wrong because we hadn’t looked at that bit yet, but still, in Year 2 (as it is now) I was certainly doing Junior level work. Moving to the Juniors was a terrible experience. I was there just a year and hated every second. I can’t even remember why it was so bad, but in a whole year’s education, and I would have been eight years old, I can’t remember anything from my time there.
So I moved schools and went to Front Lawn Junior which, in comparison, was a wonderful place. Instead of classes of 30ish, we had a huge class of about 55. With two teachers. It was open plan, we had different teachers for different things and I met other children that were just as able as I was. I loved it. I was there for three years and they were the best three years of my school life (I hated every second of secondary school too, but that’s probably another story, right?)
It makes me think, what made the time at Front Lawn so good? I remember cross-curricular activities such as the one where we asked to design a new development for the recreation ground behind our school. I remember the science lesson where we used different washing powders and soaps to get stains out of fabric. I remember being set complicated challenges by my teachers to stretch me in every way possible. I remember having teachers that made learning fun and relevant. I think that is what inspired me. It inspires me to make my class enjoy what they are doing and to make it purposeful.
Oddly, twenty years after leaving Riders Junior school, I went back. This time as a teacher. I don’t want any child in my class to feel like I did when I was there. I don’t want them to be bored, disinterested and disillusioned. I want them to learn, and learn lots, I want to provide them with the experiences that they might not normally have. This might be visiting the Spinnaker Tower, which despite being less than 10 miles away was something many had never been to before. It might be the residential trips that I have spent hours and hours planning and fighting so that every child in my year group that wants to go, can go. I want to give them the best that I can. I want them to look back in a few years time, or in twenty years time, and remember that their time at Riders Junior wasn’t that bad really. You never know, some might even say they enjoyed themselves.
So what inspires/inspired you?
The Let Teachers SHINE competition provides an opportunity for inspirational teachers to use their ideas to improve outcomes for children. You can submit your idea today for the chance to win up to a £15k grant