Angie’s Favourite Children’s Books and Changes in Teaching

In the second part of our chat with Angie Holmes on Sue and Johnny – Everything and Anything, we discussed children’s books and her joy of reading them to her classes so she could act out the characters.

‘I loved to have the children on the edge of their seats, and the Ottoline series of books written and illustrated by Chris Riddell were fantastic. The heroine was Miss Ottoline Brown, who solved mysteries. The drawings are so good as well,’ says Angie.

She explains that Ottoline, as a character, had both boys and girls enthused, as did her non-speaking sidekick, Mr Munroe. Teaching in the classroom motivated her, and although she dabbled in further promotion, she was happy to focus in the classroom.

As she says, ‘I was the lead for English and Geography. In addition, I ran the cricket, football and Athletics, so I had my hands full.’

She has lasting memories from the children she taught as they now connect with her on Facebook. These former pupils convey their joy at having Angie as their teacher.

‘They leave lovely comments about their time in my class, although one boy said he can only remember playing rounders with me. He was in my class for two years! Mind you, I must have done something correct, as he is a Chief Superintendent in the Police now,’ she says chuckling away on the podcast, Sue and Johnny – Everything and Anything

Angie doesn’t miss teaching since she retired. She has free time to follow other interests and finds time to disappear and read at home in her own special room. Moreover, she has the joys of a grandchild and now she reads to her everyday, passing her love of books to the next generation.

Angie doesn’t miss being a teacher and adds, ‘teaching has changed so much. There was no national curriculum when I started, and we were trusted professional educators who used our skills to teach. Over time, it became prescriptive and bureaucratic with too much paperwork.’

Angie’s solution? Give more freedom to teachers, allow them to be more creative and less concerned with assessment and ensure better coordination between junior and senior schools. It sounds good advice; I hope it’s taken on board.