Culture vulture

9th December 2005 at 00:00
Kate Shepherdson pushes the envelope on innovation

Best book ever

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden transported me to another land and culture. I felt sorry when I had finished it; I felt so submerged in this very different place that I didn't want to say goodbye to all the characters.

Best film ever

Don't Look Now (starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, directed by Nicolas Roeg, 1973) because the iconography is fantastic and as a media teacher I appreciate the way every frame has this red signifier, relating to the drowning of the lost daughter.

Best inspiration

The Guggenheim in New York, which I visited October half term, is wonderful, particularly the modern art collection. I am amazed at the way the curatorial staff work with children. My partner and I were fascinated to watch one of the curators working with a bunch of five and six-year-olds on the paintings of Kandinsky, giving them a language of art. They could talk about texture and shape in such an impressive fashion. If they can learn to talk like that about painting then they can learn to talk about literature in the same way. We teachers have to make more of galleries and museums.

Best resource

Envelopes. I have a collection in my drawer. There's nothing like a sealed envelope to keep a class quiet, particularly the noisier and more challenging classes. I put things in envelopes, such as vocabulary to use in various projects, and hand them out to students, making them wait until they can open the seal.

Looking forward to

A time when I have all my resources in place. I'm sure collecting resources is an endless task, but at the moment as an NQT I feel like a scavenger and an internet junkie. I long for a time when they're all nicely to hand.

Kate Shepherdson, 24, is an NQT at Canon Slade secondary school, Bolton, where she teaches English and media. As a Manchester University PGCE student last year, she took part in Literature Matters, an Arts Council-funded initiative to expand trainee teachers' knowledge of children's literature. Interview by Elaine Williams

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