English guru Jill Creighton, aka TeachingWEase, reveals how sharing high quality resources can enhance classroom teaching and subject knowledge.
Tell us about your professional background.
My passion for English and teaching started from a young age and I did all I could to secure a place on a post-graduate course including working with disabled children at a summer school and as a teaching assistant in a learning support department. Working with young people who needed their learning individualised as much as possible made me much more creative in my approach, something I then took to my English classroom.
What do you enjoy the most about teaching?
The moment that a student finally achieves something they’ve been working hard on can’t be beaten. But my stand out teaching moment was when one of my students proudly carried a sunflower he’d been growing home for his mum; months before he’d been at risk of being sent to a residential unit, but through my work with the Eco-Team, he found a love of gardening. Teaching doesn’t always have to be about the academic moments.
Which resource are you most proud of?
During my time teaching, many teachers I spoke to were worried about their own subject knowledge. It was something I knew I could help with, and although it started as a few notes on scrap pieces of paper, I soon wrote The Big Book of Grammar Teaching, which was accompanied by The Grammar Gang and Punctuation Aliens. I’ll never forget opening the box and seeing them in print – definitely one of my proudest moments. And this was the beginning of Teaching With Ease. Through my research of other curriculums and approaches, I realised that many teachers were being bogged down in teaching grammar, and this motivated me to create a range of grammar and spelling games that could be printed out, laminated and used again and again; like my Year 6 Sats preparation pack which has 20 comprehensions, 10 spelling and 6 grammar checks in one easy download. Teachers have little time as it is, and the satisfaction I get from making their lives just that little bit easier is huge.
What are your top tip/s for creating high quality resources for English?
For those of you wondering how to make stand out products, I’d give one piece of advice: be unique. Teachers want products that will enhance their teaching and keep students engaged. Spelling snakes and ladders was requested by my Year 5s during wet playtimes, and now hundreds of other teachers use it with their own pupils. Dictionary conqueror was designed to be multi-purpose, either as a starter or by the students themselves because I couldn’t fit enough vocabulary tasks into my own teaching. Be inspired by what your own classes love. I guarantee others will enjoy the same things.