A potted history of a book-mad English teacher
My name is Claire Crossland and I think it's fair to say that my love of books has shaped my life, not least in inspiring my career. I began teaching 23 years ago - a fact that I frankly find impossible to accept! - but had wanted to be a teacher since I was four years old. Endless years of making my poor, long-suffering sister answer the 'register' in different voices finally gave way to real registers in a real school and I've never imagined doing anything else.
Although I started out as a secondary school English teacher, I moved to North Suffolk four years later to be English Co-ordinator at a middle school - teaching children from Years 5-8. The decision was made to close middle schools during the time I spent raising my twin daughters and this led me to return to teaching part-time in a primary school, before being appointed as English Coach there in 2016.
Two years later, I was asked to support English at another school within the same Multi-Academy Trust, supporting colleagues through planning and helping to design a text-rich English curriculum.
Throughout this time, I have supported with English in all areas, but have specialised in the teaching of reading. I am an avid reader of children's literature and believe whole-heartedly in the incredible power of teaching from well-chosen books - we live at such an exciting time for children's literature: gone are the days of young readers standing forlornly in front of fairly barren-looking shelves of books largely about ballet or horses!
Encouraging children to love books was easy - enthusiasm is infectious after all - but I have always been interested, especially in my current role, in how best to enable children to read more astutely. How could we help children to read for power? The result has been the creation of ready-to-teach reading units, a sample of which are available here.
One of the most exciting aspects of English teaching is the rich variety of tasks and approaches that the subject generates and I enjoy keeping up-to-date with different teaching strategies and ideas. As well as reading around the subject, I am always keen to extend my skills and I have recently completed my TEFL training to become qualified in teaching English as a foreign language.
Ultimately, teaching is all about the learners that it is a teacher's privilege to work alongside. I use that word deliberately, for the influence a teacher can have is far-reaching and the opportunity to play such a role in another person's life is indeed a privilege. When I first began teaching, I remember saying that if I made a difference to just one child, then I would have fulfilled my vocation. Many years later...many children later...I still believe that and I still strive to do that very thing.