I have been teaching A level English in sixth form colleges, and privately, for over twelve years. I have also worked on various Oxford summer schools, delivering short courses in Poetry, Shakespeare and Essay Writing and have taught American undergraduates studying modules in Postmodern and Feminist Literature.
I studied English Language and Literature at Oxford University, and then for a Certificate in Further Education teaching because I wanted to specialise in A level teaching. The Oxford degree course takes students from Anglo Saxon poetry through to contemporary literature, but my special area of interest is twentieth century literature, particularly World War One poetry, Modernism, post-war literature, dystopian literature and Postmodernism. I am fascinated by the relationship between texts and the contexts in which they were written and I enjoy the study of literature because of what it tells us about the society we live in. English links to so many other disciplines and there is always something new to learn or some new angle to consider.
English Language brings yet another set of ideas and skills to the table; the connections between language and culture, and the ways in which the language we use shapes our thoughts and values are widely debated topics. Language is one of the defining characteristics of being human. Understanding how we acquire, use and even change it, both as a society and as individuals, tells us a great deal about human nature. As Wittgenstein said, ‘The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.’
I am passionate about breaking all kinds of texts down, analysing how writers (and speakers) create the effects they do. Teaching students to recognise these techniques and to write about them with confidence, is for me, the most rewarding aspect of teaching the subject and I enjoy the challenge of honing my approach to fit the needs of those with whom I am working.
I have been an A level examiner for both English Literature and English Language and Literature, a valuable experience which has helped me give my students the specific advice they need to build on their existing skills and to perform as well as possible in their examinations.