There are two questions here that I want to answer; why choose Teaching From The Front as my blog title, and why start a teaching blog at all?
So why Teaching From The Front? As old fashioned as teaching from the front of the classroom seems, it’s my preferred method of teaching. I know that may sound unpopular given that the current trend is for active learning, children finding things out for themselves rather than being fed stuff from the front, all that jazz. And there is a place for that in the classroom; one of my favourites when teaching poetry is to give the kids time to work in pairs annotating the poem before I even say a word about it.
But there also has to be room for you to speak, for you to pass on your knowledge from the front of the classroom. One of my biggest forehead smack moments from university was when one of our lecturers told us ‘Are children learning in spite of us?’, to which my immediate mental response was ‘Then what on earth are we all wasting our time becoming teachers for?’ If active learning is all there is in your classroom, then why are we there? It doesn’t take five years of university study and countless years of life experience to give a class a text and let them figure it out for themselves. If you teach from the front, you give yourself value, the knowledge you have value, your role as a teacher value. And if there’s anything we can all agree on at the minute, it’s that teachers need to be more valued.
To my second question; why start a blog at all? I have a couple of reasons for this. My first reason is a good old fashioned, slightly idealistic, whole hearted desire to help. What’s struck me most about teaching has been the incredibly supportive nature of the profession. I have never had an issue or a problem that I haven’t been able to solve by falling back on the support I get from my classmates or my workmates or the massive network of teachers who have all posted their thoughts on teaching online. I want to be part of that, so please don’t hesitate about getting in touch on anything you read here or anything that’s bothering you. I won’t pretend to be an expert, but my advice is yours if you want it!
My second reason is similarly corny – I love teaching. Given that teaching wasn’t ever my original plan, the biggest surprise for me has been how well I’ve clicked with it. I love doing professional reading, I’m fascinated by classroom dynamics, I adore building relationships with my classes, I even enjoy going through jotters marking homework! So writing about it in my free time? You bet!