Meet Maria Kardel, Teacher of English
How did you get into teaching?
Working as a Graduate Research student of English Literature, I got the opportunity to teach small groups of undergraduates at university. This experience sparked my interest in helping students develop a passion for English Literature and Language in secondary school. Since then, my passion for teaching has grown and I feel like it’s the perfect career for me.
Why did you decide to start teaching at a UTC?
I wanted to work in a place that has a strong focus on GCSE skills, and in an environment that helps young people develop maturity and personal skills. Since I came here, this has been my everyday experience.
What interests you about your area?
It is always fascinating to find timeless messages in novels and poetry written a long time ago. I also love creative writing, so I’m always looking for tips and techniques on how to structure short stories and poems to make them more engaging and original.
What is the most enjoyable thing about teaching your subject?
Shakespeare and poetry! These are the two areas that some students “fear” the most, but it is extremely rewarding to see how they start engaging with the language and the stories. I enjoy seeing the students develop their creative skills and always encourage them to explore their opinions.
What projects do the students enjoy the most?
My students enjoy reading the “Blood Brothers” book in class, as it always generates plenty of excitement. They like working together as it helps them to explore and share new ideas.
What are the benefits of studying at a UTC?
There is so much focus on making sure everyone develops their strengths by the end of Year 11 or Year 13. Another benefit is that the students get personalised feedback and support, and because it is a small school, teachers get to know everyone really well, which helps us make sure no one falls behind.
What has been your highlight of working at a UTC?
Definitely results days; it’s great seeing the spectrum of emotions, ranging from wild joy to complete disbelief, on the faces of students who have exceeded every expectation. It’s nice to know I’ve made a difference to their lives and I always enjoy seeing my students proud of everything they’ve achieved at the UTC.
What are your quarantine top tips?
Make sure you get some morning sun – don’t get caught in the cycle of staying up late and oversleeping. Also, try activities that take you away from screens and electronic devices, such as reading a book or magazine outside.
How are you staying motivated during lockdown?
I always think about how resilient people have been in the past – there are so many powerful, uplifting novels, poetry and plays that show you no crisis lasts forever. I find it useful to do a reality check to make sure I set myself achievable goals, and schedule some time for laughing, music, crafting and comfort reading.