If you are an English teacher and you aren’t on Twitter, my advice would be to sign up immediately. Teaching can be a bizarrely lonely experience. You may tell your partner / mum / cat just how tough the gig is, but they will never really understand unless they have been there themselves (apart from the cat. That would be weird. Unless you are lucky enough to teach in Hogwarts).

English teachers on Twitter are generally a pretty fantastic bunch. Here you can find support, debate, humour and understanding. The resources you can find which generous and talented teachers have freely shared are just brilliant. It will honestly change your teaching.

As an example of the kind of knowledge and support you can find on Twitter, I recently posed the question “English teachers – what is your top tip for new teachers of English?” Here are the responses:


  • Not one single jazzy PowerPoint or resource can surpass sound subject knowledge of the text and exam spec @FKRitson


  • Agree. Know your content. It’s the core of so many other elements of great teaching @JenJayWilson


  • Know your texts. The time invested in doing so reaps rewards when teaching them! @SaysMiss


  • Think about what you want students to know and plan backwards. Avoid planning lessons around a cool activity you saw somewhere @JenJayWilson


  • Hone subject knowledge, immerse yourself in grammar, read every day, it’s ok just to teach them what they don’t know yet @Gwenelope


  • There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a break – storyboard the poem / text so far; use a textbook chapter etc. Keep yourself sane & rested @numpty_teacher


  • Write your own timed model exam answers and essays. Do it often, show them to supportive colleagues. The best self-CPD there is. @PatrickCragg


  • Join & contribute to the @Team_English1 group/Dropbox- it is the best CPD! @MsMaster13


  • Completely agree with this! If you think it’s a dull lesson, they will too! Bring your lesson to life!! Be excited about teaching it. @edu_b4


  • Don’t forget to read YA fiction for pleasure. You can make genuine recommendations, and can spark some interesting discussions when you share what you are reading. @mrsfraserphs


  • Don’t reinvent the wheel, if you come across a great resource that works, use it! @thomas_marteena


  • Accept, from the start, that you’ll always have more marking than your non-English teaching colleagues. @MrJamesEnglish


  • Talk to your colleagues. Value your support staff. @ccpb59


  • Definitely mark smart and stagger your assessments. Know your texts/topics the pedagogy will come as you grow and learn. Ask the Q! @_Miss_Wright_


  • Read making every English lesson count and apply it; mark smart; don’t reinvent the wheel if a resource already exists, use it. @miniteach1

  • Try our “classical spelling bee”. It teaches vocabulary off Latin and Greek roots in a fun competitive game http://www.playwordcraft.com  @play_wordcraft


  • Prioritise your own teaching above anything else that you are expected/asked to do. @MissLisa1809


  • Encourage sharing as much as possible! Know the texts inside out-was one of the main points in the literature examiners reports @MissMeeks14


  • Subject Knowledge is key. @miss_hudson_


  • Join Twitter! @MsRBashir


  • If you have any sort of LSA or TA support in classes chat to them get to know them they often have different view from back of the class @rosieshaw44


  • Sign up for TES resources and get sch to pay for Teachit & Edusites subscriptions @NLAfilmandmedia


  • Building confidence in your Ss is one of the most important parts – supports them to express themselves, vital to English! @emsogram


  • Share and encourage a love for books, recommend titles that will inspire your readers and they’ll become great writers @squirrel_simple


  • Find opportunities to teach English in all other parts of the curriculum. @DanBooth13


  • Your passion for the subject is key – show it. @pollvole


  • Keep learning your subject. You can’t bluff it. Nothing substitutes experience and knowledge. @Beta_Teacher


  • Watch your peers teach! Magpie their ideas. Always ask questions to all around you. Don’t be dissuaded by criticism. Know you aren’t alone. @MrKingscote


I hope that this small sample highlights how useful Twitter can be. Huge thanks to all of the contributors. There is a group set up specifically for English teachers which is just fantastic. You can find it @Team_English1. If you can do one thing at the beginning of a well-deserved half term, signing up for Twitter should be it!


Happy holidays!


Twitter’s advice for new English teachers

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