Culture vulture

17th June 2005 at 01:00
In true punk rock spirit, Lucy Lawrence is all for a bit of mayhem

Best book ever

You can't be a good English teacher if you're not reading all the time and passionate about it. I rarely re-read books, but there are two I go back to. What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe is the most brilliant piece of satire, a real insight into the 1980s, but at the same time it has poignant moments. And Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry has a special dream-like quality. I have never been to Mexico, but the book transports you into another world and another man's life.

Best film ever

I like foreign films; you can really lose yourself in a different culture.

My favourite is Murmur of the Heart (Louis Malle 1971). The protagonist is a teenage boy and the film has all the energy and vibrancy of a teenager's life with this huge mix of emotions; the boy steals on the streets but there are also tender passages such as when he puts his arms around his mother.

Inspiring art

The Weather Project (by Olafur Eliasson, October 2003 to spring 2004) in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern was amazing. You felt enveloped by the art, you became part of it and watching other people's reactions was part of it. It's not the best work I have ever seen, but it is the most affecting.

Best resource

The video camera is a powerful tool for engaging classes. Studying Dracula with a group of Year 7s I got them to use cameras to make the opening of a horror film. It was a way of getting students to explore literary convention in a way that excited them.

To share with pupils

A quote by Joe Strummer (pictured) from The Clash on my office wall: "This is the stuff. Absolute mayhem." Students often ask about it. Punk music was about taking risks and being passionate even if it caused chaos. Education today doesn't allow for that.

Looking forward to

Reading Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy. I'd been going through the Carnegie Medal shortlist with a group of students and one girl, who doesn't read a lot, said, "I couldn't put it down, I had to sit and read it all day", so that has to be a good recommendation.

Lucy Lawrence, 31, is assistant head at Greenhead high, an 11-18 secondary school in Keighley, West Yorkshire. This year she returned to the classroom after a post as literacy consultant for York. She was talking to Elaine Williams

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