Stumped? Not any more

13th January 2006 at 00:00
It is ironic that it was while taking a cricket lesson - a game I had never played seriously - that the scales fell from my eyes about teaching.

I was in my first year at a tough comp in Liverpool, teaching English and history. Every Monday third period, I was timetabled for games: rugby and football in winter, then cricket after the Easter break.

I was keen on sport but aware of my deficiencies. Nevertheless, I found myself enjoying the lessons. They were certainly challenging. Because no one had ever showed me what to do for this subject, I relied on a patient and supportive head of department, my own determination to succeed and the boys' enthusiasm.

Plus the transparency of the subject. I watched other staff, saw what worked and what didn't. It was all so obvious to teacher or observer: what the children enjoyed, what held their attention, what helped them progress.

I pinched collegeaues' ideas, adapted them for myself and learned from my mistakes.

In my main subjects - I used to go to sleep in my own history lessons so soon switched to English only - I used to be obsessed with content and frequently tried to cram too much in.

PE, in comparison, made it obvious when pupils were ready to move on.

Lessons soon revealed a very obvious structure: warm-up, teach a skill, then a game designed to emphasise or stretch that skill.

And it was while I had the class in pairs bowling at their own single stumps - to teach them the action and accuracy so that there was maximum participation - that it struck me that this is what I should be doing in English as well.

My love affair with games had borne fruit. A year later I married one of the female PE staff, a relationship cemented.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now