2014 Teacher Trailblazers

Read their top tips for teaching poetry and try out their lesson plans.

Katherine Whittington

Katherine has been working as the Librarian at Oxford Spires Academy for two years, and love sharing poetry with the students. She encourage them to read widely, especially lots of different contemporary and historically established poets, and is working with a team of students to create a Poetry Hub in school, where comfortable seating and a strong stock of reading materials will inspire writing. The work of her pupils has been recognised in many creative writing competitions, and she is continuously in awe of the poetry they produce.

Katherine is lucky enough to work with the wonderful people at First Story, who foster literacy and confidence through creative writing. When she started at Oxford Spires, Katherine wanted our writer in residence, Kate Clanchy, to host the weekly creative writing workshops in the Library because she wanted the students to feel like it was their space. As time went on, she transitioned from listening to them read their work aloud to sitting in and sometimes even writing herself.

Ramnika Sharma

Ramnika was born in Hampshire. After studying for a BA (hons) degree in London and gaining an MA in Literature with merit at the Universtity of Essex, she returned to the area and became a teacher of English. She soon become passionate about sharing her love of books; her passion for words and her fascination for poetry. She is currently a teacher of English and Literacy Co-ordinator at Oaklands Catholic School and Sixth Form College, a highly successful provider of education to 11-18 year olds.

Central to her work at Oaklands Catholic School is her determination to raise awareness on the significance of literacy in the lives of young people; she strives to promote reading for pleasure and through entering competitions such as ‘Foyle’, seeks to highlight the power of the written word. She feels incredibly fortunate to be able to explore poetry on a daily basis, whether it is through teaching the life and works of particular poets; analysing the use of language or guiding students through the creation of their own poetry, and is incredibly excited to be working with The Poetry Society this year to bring poetry into the lives of even more young