Lisa Jane Ashes: This is how I work

I am Lisa Jane Ashes and this is how I work


Twitter: @lisajaneashes


On Amazon:


Current job: Advanced Skills Teaching and Learning Leader

Been a teacher since: 2007

Location: Gateshead

Current mobile device: iPhone 5

Current computer: Macbook Pro

One word that best describes how you work: Relentlessly

How do you manage your calendar/diary?

Everything gets written somewhere… it is a miracle that I manage to keep all of my appointments but I do.

How do you manage your lesson planning?

My lessons get written into my teacher planner usually the day before I teach them. I have a long and medium overview that are a bit like shopping lists for classes to make sure I cover all skills but these rarely get used more than once as every class is so different. This explains how I plan: (extract below – great post!)

Note this is not my new way of planning but the Manglish model is not quite ready yet…


What do they need to know?

Begin by using your Key Stage 4 specification to work out what your subjects’ core topics are and how they will be assessed. Look to the very top band of the mark scheme to see what the end result would look like if you had prepared your pupils for perfection. For example:

The core topics that make up the AQA GCSE English Language and Literature course are:

Speaking and listening

Spoken language

Other cultures

extended reading



Exploring poetry

Writing for various purposes

Pupils are tested for their understanding and skill in exam conditions for all of the above topics. The skills that the mark scheme dictates they must demonstrate are:


Pupils are able to highlight priorities and essential detail when communicating complex and demanding subject-matter. They can
use a sophisticated repertoire of strategies to…

How do you manage your marking?

Extract from:

Did you find yourself at some point his week with a HUGE pile of books to mark? When you opened them, did you need to look back over several lessons that you had forgotten you’d even taught? I really hope not!

If you did, there are ways to avoid such a backlog such as only ever setting a written task for a purpose. If you asked pupils to write a page of work but you have just returned to it to mark it now, what were your reasons for them writing it in the first place?

Click here or link above to read the full post on Lisa’s blog.

What’s your best tip for term-time weekends?

Grab every second of fun you can! Don’t be grumpy because it is Monday tomorrow; remember it is Sunday today.

What do you do during school holidays?

I paint. Of course I spend time preparing for the next term too but I try to do things that I never have time to do during term time and painting with my kids is top of the list.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?


What’s your main workspace like?

A mess! I know where everything is but it gives my line manager heart palpitations when she sees my piles of stuff. My classroom has my favourite quotations on the walls to keep me smiling and I filled the wall with stars to cover the messy staple marks.

What do you listen to while you work?

Kids debating the questions of the lesson.

What’s your best time-saving trick?

Little and often – don’t put it off

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?


What’s your sleep routine like?

Not too bad… pro plus anyone?

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

I would love to say introvert but that’s just not true. “If anyone is further outside the box than Lisa, I would hate to meet them.” Proud moment when that was said about me.

I would like to I’d like to see David Didau answer these same questions.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

When I was about to go into my AST interview my HOD stopped me and said: “Lisa, whatever you do, please just don’t be yourself!” I ignored this advice and got the job. That was not the best advice I have been given but it reminded me that someone else told me “always be yourself; don’t let anyone change you.” True that!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Being a teacher is hard, damn hard but it is also fun, damn fun! If you hate it, get out; if you love it, it is the best job in the world.

Lisa Jane Ashes: This is how I work

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