Do you know a teacher that does remarkable things in a classroom?
This is a new feature on the Teacher Toolkit blog and we hope to publish one or two teacher profiles every month.
We aim to interview teachers with 5 simple questions and this gives us an insight into who they are, what they do and what makes them tick!
Meet Ms. Chloe Butterfield who was interviewed recently by Teacher Toolkit. Chloe has been teaching for 10 years and currently works at King Alfred’s Academy in Oxfordshire. Chloe is an assistant headteacher in charge of Teaching and Learning and she teaches English.
Question 1: Who/what inspired you to become a teacher?
My mother was an English teacher and it was difficult not to be caught up in her care for individual pupils. Every student mattered and it was clear that she had changed their lives. Certainly, she didn’t shy away sharing the demands of the job but her passion for it was evident. In fact, she still hears from many of her students now – years after teaching them. I went into teaching hoping that it would be challenging, energising and a way to make a difference, and it has proved to be all of those things.
Question 2: When the going gets tough, how do you motivate yourself?
I have been teaching for 10 years now and the going is always tough but that goes with the job. The motivation is that every class and every lesson is different. For the teacher the questions are always there: how do I present the right amount of challenge so that students have to think hard? How do I create serious play in the classroom? How do I make the learning ‘stickable’? How do I make explicit the process in my own head so that students can reflect on their own learning and what it involves?
Question 3: What is your no.1 classroom secret (to your success)?
Create a connection with every student in the class so that they listen to you and you to them and there is open and honest discourse and a feeling of trust and enjoyment in being together. The aim is for students to feel that time spent with the teacher, and in that class, is an enriching experience that enhances their lives.
Question 4: What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Start with the ‘why’. Why are you a teacher? Why are you teaching the subject you are teaching? Why are you in the school that you’re in? Why should students come to your lessons? The ‘how’ and the ‘what’ should follow. For example, I am a teacher because I want to enable students to think more deeply about the subject I teach. This will result in a style of teaching (a ‘how’) and an appropriate content (the ‘what’). Oh and for inspiration that is clear, brave and value-led, read anything by John Tomsett, Geoff Barton, Mary Myatt or David Didau.
Question 5: How do you look after your well-being?
My well-being is intrinsically linked to the relationship with the classes I teach. When it works well there is a deep reciprocity. For me, the secret is to explicitly notice these moments as they happen. From that sense of purposefulness, human contact and that, yes, like my mum I am doing something worthwhile that can change lives.
You can contact and follow Chloe @MsCButterfield