PROFILE: Maria Lydon
Prior to becoming a Primary school teacher I worked in various respite units for children and adults with learning disabilities. Additionally, I carried out some support work in Special schools around Plymouth. During this time period I also worked as a Camp Counsellor for Camp America throughout the summer term for approximately 4 months, with children aged between 6 and 11 years of age. My overall role was in supervision and ensuring their well-being, whilst living on the campus with the children, 24 hours of the day. I fully immersed myself in the daily routines, whilst providing a range of fun and engaging activities for the children during their time at camp. I was also a trained life-guard and swimming instructor at particular times each day.
After completing my teacher training at the college of St Mark and St John, then at Sheffield Hallam University for my PGCE, I moved to London and worked in a primary school in the centre of London, called St Peters CE School, which was in special measures. This was a challenging but enjoyable experience as a teacher and I’m pleased that I helped the school through their journey in getting out of special measures, to becoming a ‘Good’ school. I worked at this school for approximately four years. As well as a KS2 teacher at this school I was also the Art and Design Technology Co-ordinator and took on a very active role in raising the creative profile of the school across these subject areas. In support of this, I also carried out a leadership course.
On returning back to my home-town of Plymouth I worked as a supply teacher in various schools before being appointed a teaching position at Pennycross Primary school, 2 years temporary and now about 4 years permanent. I have worked in lower KS2 during all of these years and throughout this time I have been an Art and Design Technology
Co-ordinator. I have taken on an active role in helping to raise the profile of Art and Design Technology in our school. I have organised and implemented whole school projects during ‘Arts Weeks’, carried out exhibitions, delivered art/design technology and cooking clubs for a range of year groups and collaborated with local artists, schools and agencies. I have shared and supported teachers and support staff within the school through INSETs, meetings and generally in lessons.
MY AREAS OF EXPERTISE
• Teaching and assessing a range of curriculum subjects for Lower KS2.
• Art and Design Co-ordinator during two full-time permanent teaching positions.
• Implementing and organising whole school art competitions and presenting children’s work in an Art Gallery, as well as organise exhibitions for
• Organising and delivering clubs for varying year groups including a cookery club and art club (working towards an Art Mark in the future).
• Implementing yearly Art and DT schemes of work.
• Implementing assessment in Art and Design Technology towards progression of skills.
• Organising, delivering and collaborating with local artists towards whole school Arts weeks and art/design technology projects.
• Delivering INSETs on many aspects of Art and Design Technology.
• Organising and running a ‘Pennycross Talent Show’ on a yearly basis.
• Acting as an Ambassador for Children’s University for Pennycross Primary school.
MY SUCCESS STORIES
I have undertaken my role as Art and Design Technology Co-ordinator for approximately 10 years across two schools. I feel that this opportunity has very much helped to raise the profile of Art and Design Technology in both schools and I feel proud of my achievements.
Through the range of whole school projects and clubs that I have organised and implemented, I can recognise the effect that this has had in both schools and how the children’s creative skills and passion for art and Design Technology have flourished due to providing the necessary opportunities. I have enjoyed working in collaboration with local artists to support in the delivery of art skills and celebrating the children’s successes and experiences with parents/carers. In working closely with teaching staff through delivering Art and Design Technology INSETS and ‘Arts Week’ I can identify how their interest and confidence in teaching Art and Design Technology has also grown. The ‘Arts Weeks’ have been a great success, with a lot of support from parents/carers and Governors and the children’s work has been celebrated in an exhibition.
I have very much enjoyed taking on the role as an Ambassador for Children’s University over the last few years and being part of an organisation who celebrate and reward the children for the skills that they have acquired throughout their range of extra-curricular activities. The children are rewarded with quality certificates and invitations to a graduation, just like a University student. I have also arranged trips to Plymouth University to provide the children with learning opportunities that the children wouldn’t generally be able to experience in school, due to the expertise and facilities that can be provided by the students at the University.
Another success that I feel I have achieved is in providing the children with the opportunity to show off their skills and talent through the ‘Pennycross Talent Show’, which I organise and run on a yearly basis in the Summer Term. The children very much look forward to this event and request for it to continue. We have seen a large number of talented children who have shown off their skills in front of the whole school and parents. This experience not only builds upon a range of the children’s skills but also their confidence and self-esteem. Every year this is a very enjoyable and fulfilling event and one year the show was even published in the local newspaper.