GCSE English teacher - ask me anything!

(36 Posts)
MrsChinamano Thu 14-Jan-21 15:43:04

Hey guys,

I'm an English teacher and I specialise in GCSE English from KS3 - KS4, I also have an MA in DYS. I work on TEAMS for a college and the rest of my time is spent working privately with students from Year 7 - year 12 using Google Drive, Google meets, Zoom …
I run an Instagram account for my students with weekly English based competitions & daily tips for MH too, I make videos on YouTube and post these for my students.

I know many people are struggling, so here I am, ready to serve you!

Let me know how I can help.

x

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Shieldingending Mon 18-Jan-21 21:53:33

What books would you recommend for a year 8 girl who has decided she doesn't like reading anymore? She's gone from being an avid reader in y6 to not wanting to read anything. The most recent thing she read was Hunger Games which she did enjoy but I'm struggling to find anything else she'll read. Thank you

NinetyNineRedBalloonsGoBy Mon 18-Jan-21 21:55:23

What's DYS?

MrsChinamano Tue 19-Jan-21 15:06:22

Hi @sheildinggending

Ah I see this happen so often!
What sort of things does your daughter like? Is she growing up too fast, ie - moving into her teenage years before she actually is one?
I would encourage her to read ANYTHING she likes, so even magazines are better than nothing.

There is a great book called "one of us is lying" - real high school drama with an excellent murder mystery and plot twist she might enjoy. If she's into real life stories I can recommend a number of books to or if there's a particular genre of books or even films she likes let me know and i'll compile a list for you.

xx

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MrsChinamano Tue 19-Jan-21 15:06:52

@ninetynineredballoonsgoby - DYS stands for Dyslexic.
x

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Shieldingending Tue 19-Jan-21 20:33:47

MrsChinamano

Hi @sheildinggending

Ah I see this happen so often!
What sort of things does your daughter like? Is she growing up too fast, ie - moving into her teenage years before she actually is one?
I would encourage her to read ANYTHING she likes, so even magazines are better than nothing.

There is a great book called "one of us is lying" - real high school drama with an excellent murder mystery and plot twist she might enjoy. If she's into real life stories I can recommend a number of books to or if there's a particular genre of books or even films she likes let me know and i'll compile a list for you.

xx


Thank you, she loves Vampire Diaries. She didn't get into the Twilight books though which I suggested. She used to read anything! In Year 6 she enjoyed The Hobbit and The Northern Lights. She is just 13 and whilst she's certainly growing up I don't feel too fast, she's still pleasant and wants to do family things. She'd just rather watch TV than read! She's interested in the suffragettes and in world war 1 and 2 if you've got any suggestions related to those topics. Thank you

Canteloupe33 Wed 27-Jan-21 08:58:37

Thanks so much @MrsChinamano. My daughter is in year 6 and had a problem with anxiety and school avoidance even before the pandemic. When school was open her attendance was below 50% and I can’t really engage her in home learning. She hates the teachers’ videos. She won’t contemplate joining a live lesson and the English teaching is particularly boring. She won’t do anything independently and since I’m working full time from home it’s pretty much wall-to-wall YouTube. I’m wondering how on Earth to prepare her for secondary. I’m hoping all the fronted adverbials etc don’t feature in secondary. So I suppose my question is what do you want a new year 7 pupil to know or be able to do English-wise so if we were just going to achieve one thing I know what to focus on! Thank you

MrsChinamano Fri 29-Jan-21 11:55:26

hi both,

@sheildinggending @Canteloupe33

She might enjoy watching the film The book thief and the reading the book - the narrator is death and it's set in WW2 Nazi Germany. However if she'd like a bit more girly, teenage reading then Everything Everything (also a film) and One of us is Lying are both great books. Not hard to read, they have 'text' written memos in etc.

For year 7, I think we are generally hoping that spellings are secure (to a degree) as well as punctuation & capital letters. As for fronted adverbials, no! We don't cover them and leave those at primary. If a child can read & write without any glaring problems then we're happy. Imagination and creativity is also very welcomed, for example using a simlie & adjectives in their work.
Year 7 skills are very much about reading, comprehension and summarising. Forming thoughts and putting them down on to paper is also important, in general for most subjects. I would suggest encouraging her to write, either creatively or opinion pieces in any form! For me as a teacher confidence is better than anything else.

Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help you ladies.

xx

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Canteloupe33 Sat 30-Jan-21 13:05:25

@MrsChinamano thank you so much - she does enjoy writing but feels creatively constrained by the way they are forced to plan it out and include x and y feature in primary lessons. She is actually writing a mystery novel at the moment. I do feel reassured because she is good on capital letters and punctuation and not short on imagination either. Will put a bit more attention on spelling.

Dustyboots Sat 30-Jan-21 23:28:28

My son's in year 9. How many texts will he have to study for GCSE?

I'm worrying about how much there will be to memorise.

DoingItForTheKid Sat 30-Jan-21 23:37:12

1. My Y7 Dd's spelling is a bit ropey. What can we do?

2. How often woukd you expect a Y7's English work to be marked?

MrsChinamano Tue 02-Feb-21 17:06:57

@Canteloupe33 that's great that she's writing - keep encouraging her to do that and leave the restraints of school aside for a while. I think the 'school' way of writing can be so limiting, mainly because of the current exam system. I encourage my private students to be as creative as possible and we do things outside of 'the norm' all the time!

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colouringindoors Tue 02-Feb-21 17:07:38

What are your top 5 fiction books?

Karwomannghia Tue 02-Feb-21 17:12:31

How do you teacher assess? How much are you judging gcse kids’ performance right now? My ds is not doing well in lockdown and I’m worried.

Whatamess666 Tue 02-Feb-21 17:16:14

@Shieldingending
it's been a while since I ran teen section in the bookshop but take a look at Meg Rosoff. She's a beautiful writer. How i live now and Justin case are my favourite. I apologise for any dodgy spelling and grammar but i can currently only see 1 line at a time on my phone. Seriously mumsnet. Unnecessary.

MrsChinamano Tue 02-Feb-21 17:53:19

@Dustyboots For English language there are no set texts, but in Literature there are usually x3 texts (Shakespeare, pre 1914 and post 1914), they also have an anthology of poetry to study however for the GCSE this year many have chosen not to study this and just focus on the novels. However, for some iGCSE's dependent on exam board the requirement is different. When he knows which texts he'll be studying I'd recommend getting the audibles & even graphic novels for perhaps Shakespeare - this hits all the sense then!

It's not so much about memorising the novels as such but about understanding why they were written in their time and what their bigger themes and ideas are, I encourage my private students to think about the message that the writer is giving rather than knowing the plot of by heart as this is where the higher marks are given.

Sarah xx

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MrsChinamano Tue 02-Feb-21 18:15:03

@DoingItForTheKid

1. My Y7 Dd's spelling is a bit ropey. What can we do?

Ropey as in errors in more challenging words or ropey as in they get common words wrong a lot? I use Spellzone with my private students as we can set our word lists, play a ton of games, print sheets etc. I also encourage them to pick five new words a week or choose their own common spelling errors and learn these each week. I'm always so suprised how willing my students are to do a weekly spelling test - I hated them at school! I'd also suggest encouraging hand writing, maybe in big beautiful pens or with a paint brush, in sand or shaving foam - spelling is a muscle memory too an dis held just as much in the finger as it is in the brain. Get creative! If they like blocks, you can buy these fairly cheaply on ebay or amazon and encourage them to build words.

2. How often woukd you expect a Y7's English work to be marked?
I think this depends on the schools policy and the teachers work load. For me, marking is good if its informative - but ticks on a page don't mean much. I like to leave audio feedback or a comment with a target to improve for the following week to work on. Your child should ideally know what their feedback is and how to improve - if they know this then it doesn't matter if their work is marked every week - more likely every 2 -3.

Sarah xxx

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StrangerHereMyself Tue 02-Feb-21 18:21:33

Why is GCSE English Literature such a slog?

I have an A grade in English Literature A level, and a degree in an essay subject. DH writes technical prose for a living. Between us we have read and enjoyed pretty much the whole Eng Lit canon. DS knows and understands his texts backwards, along with the cultural background that goes with them. He has near perfect SPAG and writes elegant if slightly Victorian prose.

Why can none of us answer the sodding essay questions in Eng Lit and the analysis questions in Eng Lang?

MrsChinamano Tue 02-Feb-21 18:25:48

@colouringindoors wow!! For me personally or for GCSE?

For me personally it would be:
-Rebecca
-The kite Runner
-Where the Crawdads Sing
-Elanor Oliphant
-A street car named desire (a play I know but OMG)

For GCSE - this depends! In my private work I encourage my students to read books with me that they're going to find interesting, actually with one year 9 student this year we've read my top two above and he's loved them! With others we've read books such as The Book Thief or To Kill a Mockingbird.

What would be yours?!

Sarah xx

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colouringindoors Tue 02-Feb-21 18:48:52

Yes OP, for you grin
Interesting. I've read your first two, Kite Runner was gruelling though v powerful.

So hard to pick 5 though 😅 (also my memory is shit). So looking over bookshelves...
1. Probably a Jane Austen, P&P
2. The Enchanted April, Elizabeth von Arnim. Pure sunshine.
3. Career of Evil, Robert Galbraith (haven't read latest yet)
4. The Wolf Border, Sarah Hall, love Cumbria, liked writing style and characters
5. Busman's holiday - DL Sayers. Love the Wimsey & Harriet books, this I found v touching.

non fiction, Sue Perkins Spectacles grin

Cakecrumbsinmybra Tue 02-Feb-21 23:00:17

@Shieldingending Maybe look at Malorie Blackman

Dustyboots Thu 04-Feb-21 23:59:50

That's really helpful to know, Sarah,

Thankyou!!

MrsChinamano Mon 08-Feb-21 10:19:07

@Karwomannghia Thanks for this question.

I've been teaching online since September with my year 12's and so I teacher assess in three different way.
1. Every lesson - questioning, the work they complete, conversations we have. I leave them audio recordings, written feedback ... whatever works best.
2. Every six weeks I set them a mini assessment which is marked. It looks at two of the key things we've been working on that term and I grade it against the marking criteria. I see them the following week for a tutorial and we go through their work.
3. I set them a full mock paper (December & Feb) and again this is marked with the MS and feedback is given.

A good teacher will know where their student is at regardless, but if your child is unsure of their strengths and weaknesses then this is the thing they will need to know. I appreciate this is challenging for secondary teachers to do.
In my private work this is something I do every term and then host a parents evening every half term to go through things like this - but that is what my parents pay for, peace of mind and knowledge about where their child is currently at.
I hope some of this is helpful?

Sarah x

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Karwomannghia Mon 08-Feb-21 18:38:43

Yes thanks Sarah you sound like a fab teacher!

MrsChinamano Mon 15-Feb-21 18:49:58

Ah thank you @Karwomannghia

If there's anything else I can support you with just ask - equally you can follow me on Instagram at successful_direction_tutoring xx

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