Community Member of the Week: Katrina Boast

Katrina is a Year 6 (age 10- 11) support teacher who focuses on improving literacy and numeracy at Victoria Community School in Staffordshire, United Kingdom. She has been using the resources in Discovery Education Espresso for many years. She shared “ I started by using the wonderful History section – it was the mainstay of my teaching of Egyptian history in my previous post as a class teacher. It adds variety and interest to the lessons, the children look forward to it, it makes so many complex issues much more accessible to them.”

How do you start your day?image[5]

Reluctantly! But once I’ve done the hard bit and got out of bed, a  very large cup of tea and a bowl of Weetabix sets me up for the day.

Why did you become a teacher?
I started as a ‘helping mum’ in my sons’ primary school and decided, ‘I could do that!’, so I went back to university and became a teacher.

What is one of your favorite ways to use Discovery Education Espresso?

In the UK the Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar pages are fantastic, especially prior to our end of Year 6 SATs (Standard Assessment Tests). I also love the text extracts with reading comprehension questions. The children just love the choice of authors.

What is one of your most memorable experiences with the Discovery Education Community?
The opening night of my first DENSI in Washington. I saw how much love and support the US teachers got from the event – like a giant family reunion, and thought, wow, I’m a part of this!

image[7]What is a ritual you have in your classroom?

As most of my time is spent tutoring pupils on an individual basis my routine is to be unfailingly cheerful, insistent on completion of homework and passionate about honesty from the pupils in terms of their understanding. This is from the very first of their 10 hourly sessions. They know that they can spend time on anything that they don’t understand, even if that means an 11 year old admitting that she can’t tell the time, or know the difference between an adverb and an adjective. It fosters complete trust between us.

How are you involved in education aside from your role as educator?

Blogging was a new experience for me in response to my DENSI invitation, and I really enjoyed those few moments of reflection. In the past I have mentored new teachers and student teachers.

What advice do you give to a teacher who is hesitant to use digital media in their classroom?

Give it a go! Getting it wrong is part of the learning progress, the children appreciate that teachers don’t always get it right either, but if you really are worried about facing disaster, have Plan B ready, just in case!image[8]

What advice do you have for first year teachers?

Listen to everyone’s advice, don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t be afraid to go with your gut instinct. Enjoy being a very important person in 30+ children’s lives, enjoy a year of mutual love and respect.

What sites do you visit to assist in your teaching practice?

TES – formally The Times Educational Supplement and Teachit Primary

When you’re not working, where are we most likely to find you?
Technically, I’d still be working, but not as a teacher! I work for Rosliston Environmental Education at the local forestry centre helping children engage with nature, and at Derby Museum and Art Gallery helping children engage with history. If I’m not doing either of those things, I’ll probably be walking around our local country side, taking a bike ride or maybe visiting a National Trust property – a UK speciality, a charity that preserves historic houses, castles and other ancient monuments.

image[9]What is your favorite kind of donut?
Plain sugared ring, but still hot!

How can others connect with you?
Find me on Facebook- Katrina Boast

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