Over the past few years, scuba-diving has become my passion and favourite pastime. So when the time came to rewrite our topic map ahead of the introduction of England’s new national curriculum, I thought it was an opportunity to put in something I could get animated about.
My year group partners agreed and our “under the sea” topic was born. It covers many of the geography and science requirements. My colleagues suggested that I hold a “scuba talk” for the children as an introduction.
At first I was a little unsure: would the children just laugh at me struggling into my wet suit, or would they really be interested? I decided to give it a try.
As I climbed up into my loft to get my gear, I began to feel excited and the ideas started flowing. I contacted a scuba buddy who had footage of me swimming with a turtle and dug out some of my favourite underwater photos. After reading back through my dive log, I started searching online for a child-friendly equivalent that the pupils could complete after my talk.
The children were so excited the next day when I walked into the classroom dragging my dive kit. They pulled out every item with rapture and listened keenly to my explanations. They laughed when I dressed up their friends and they asked insightful questions about scuba-diving and why you needed to use each piece of equipment.
My fear was that they would be bored, but far from it – they were animated and amazed. When I showed photos and videos of myself underwater, they shouted “wow!” and “cool!”. I started to feel just a little bit cool as well.
Hearing how excited I was about the topic made them excited, too. The creative writing in their log books was some of the best I’ve seen so far this year. I would highly recommend sharing your passion with your class. Unleash what you love!
Alice Edgington is a Year 1 class teacher and English coordinator at St Stephen’s Infant School in Canterbury, Kent. Find her on Twitter at @aliceedgington