2011’s Teacher Trailblazers
Barbara Ferramosca was born in the South of Italy, and grew up in a small village close to the ancient town of Lecce. She always had a passion for books, but it wasn’t always an easy passion to fulfill – her village only had one small library, and she often had to cycle several miles to wake the librarian up so he could open it.
Barbara studied translation at the University of FORLI, where she developed her love of languages. She followed her studies with travelling, and spent time living in a number of different countries in Europe and the Middle East. In Tunisia she worked in a small University Library, and discovered that she could turn her childhood passion into an adult vocation.
In 2006, Barbara moved to England for the second time, where she studied Information and Library Management at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Her first job as a school librarian was in Exmouth Community College, where she realised that she could put her more creative side to good use. Barbara now works in Lilian Baylis Technology School, in London, and spent the last two years developing a well-used library.
Currently leading a talented and successful English Department at Stroud High School, Matthew Hannam has been teaching for ten years. Having studied English Literature at Bangor, he completed a MA in Modern Literature at Kent University before passing his PGCE with distinction in 2000. Recently, he has been nominated for the National Teaching Awards and continues to be a keen writer of poetry. He feels his writing greatly benefited from attending an Arvon residential writing course and he is an avid reader of contemporary poetry.
Poetry became a passion for Matthew when he, at home as a teenager, discovered ‘The Wasteland’ in an anthology of poetry next to a much more well-thumbed copy of Pam Ayers. Poetry and writing became a daily activity from that moment on. He considers himself very lucky to have been taught by inspirational teachers and that today he has the opportunity to convey this enthusiasm to another generation. One tip he was given early on in his teaching career, was that you never utter the word ‘poetry’ at the beginning of the lesson, but only when the students are hooked.
Students at his school have been shortlisted in a recent AQA poetry competition, have taken part in poetry slams, poetry clubs, created literary magazines and met visiting writers.