If there's one subject specialism where it's guaranteed that everyone knows how to teach better than you, it's English. Not only that, but the whole world will blame you for every greengrocer's "apple's" notice, and your colleagues will imagine it's your fault that the spelling in Year 9's science homework is iffy, without it occurring to them to wield the red pen themselves. And just when you thought it couldn't get worse, the chattering classes all went out and got that Eats, Shoots And Leaves book, by Lynne Truss.
On the other hand, English teachers always have a very high opinion of themselves, and their subject association, The National Association for the Teaching of English has always been one of the most confident and influential. With more than 5,000 members, it does get listened to - NATE has been heavily involved in the National Reading Campaign, for example, finding positive male role models to encourage reading. The regional network is flourishing too. NATE is also possibly the best value of all subject associations.
NQT membership is only pound;27.50, rising to pound;62 for secondary membership, pound;53 for primary and pound;72 for full membership. For that, you get several publications a year including NATE News, specialist primary or secondary magazines and English, Media, Drama magazine. The resources and materials are good too - a study pack for Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials has just been released.
Online, there is a lively discussion forum which anyone struggling with Carol Ann Duffy's The World's Wife would do well to look into. The online shop is worth looking at, and as well as their annual conference, there are a number of events to look out for - a spring conference on creativity, and a day on working with AQA poetry.
NATE, 50 Broadfield Road, Sheffield S8 0XJ. Tel: 0114 255 5419; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.nate.org.uk