Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

A Day in the Life of ... Samantha Pidgeon: Feature

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

A Day in the Life of ... Samantha Pidgeon: Feature

Article excerpt

On a hot day in Brisbane, Australia, this high school English teacher finds her young public speakers a joy to work with, offers support to a refugee student and sets up a 'yarning circle'.

It feels as if this term has gone on for ever but it's only a couple of weeks old. It's Tuesday, and I leave home at about 7.15am so that I can mark a pile of draft essays to return to students later in the day. At 8am, I head to the library to coach our public-speaking group, which meets before school.

A competition is coming up and group members are busy putting the final touches to their speeches. These students are motivated, dedicated and a joy to work with.

School officially starts at 8.55am. I teach a 70-minute lesson to one of my two Year 8 English classes. The 13- to 14-year-olds are using one of the school's new "laptop caddies", so it's a bit of a rush to get it unlocked and down to the classroom in time, but it is a vast improvement on having to use a dedicated computer room. It also means that students can work on a variety of activities at their own pace.

Independent workers abound in this lesson, which frees me up to give special assistance to two children who are really struggling. One has learning difficulties and the other needs support in English since he arrived in Australia as a refugee only 18 months ago.

At 10.05am, I get back to my desk for morning tea. One of the public- speaking students is waiting for me. In the past hour, she has had a light-bulb moment, so I spend the next 10 minutes drinking my morning tea and listening to a new speech. As she leaves, I am asked to meet a group of trainee teachers who have arrived at the school for the first day of their practice.

After an hour of administration duties for my role as head of department, I observe a colleague teaching their class as part of our professional development programme. …

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