High School English
My first formal teaching experiences were in further education in the UK where I taught ‘A’ Level language and literature. Since then I have taught IB Literature using both the old (language A) syllabus as well as the new Literature course. In addition, I have had IB training in both these courses as well as the new Language and Literature course.
Making it relevant
English language and literature has always been my passion. As the son of an English teacher, I was raised surrounded by books and always made aware of their relevance to the world around me. As well as the aesthetic appreciation of books, I want students to be motivated by understanding the contemporary political relevance of writing. Sophocles’ reflections in Antigone can be discussed by referencing the gun control debate, Orwell’s essays may lead to a discussion of politicians’ use of sanitized political jargon, and Allende’s portrayal of male violence might lead to a discussion of how sexual violence accompanied social upheaval in World War Two, Korea, Yugoslavia, or even Syria. My starting point is to engage students through the exciting and challenging nature of literature’s ideas, so that they can start to appreciate the skill and craft of the writing itself.
Language and literature - analysing non-literary texts
I am very excited by the new Language and Literature course. Having gained a Trinity Diploma in ESOL and studied literary linguistics at Masters level, I have a real appreciation of the grammatical structure of language as well as ways to view “text” in a broader non-literary sense. My experiences studying media at University and teaching Media Studies on an undergraduate course at Salford University have also given me a firm foundation in this skill set. I have enjoyed two Brad Philpot workshops on the new course and find students are very receptive and insightful when looking at visual and multi-media texts.
Students as Individuals
My teaching of High School students is grounded in my appreciation of who they are as individuals. Teaching in middle school for a little over a decade has given me a firm grasp of where the students are coming from in terms of their academic and social development. My understanding of high school students is also strengthened by my own international experience. I have two “third culture” children of my own and my experiences in four international schools give me a growing empathy for the issues that confront the children we teach.