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Joanna Ford – University of Reading

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  • Joanna Ford

    Life-changing literature

Joanna Ford

 Joanna Ford graduated from the University of Reading in 2015 with a first-class degree in English Literature and German. Since then, Joanna has gained a place on the highly competitive TeachFirst programme, with a focus on teaching 'early years' schoolchildren in disadvantaged areas.

In 2017, Joanna was voted Newly Qualified Teacher of the Year in the Kent and Medway annual teacher award.

Combining disciplines

During her degree, Joanna spent a year working in a remote village in Germany. The experience not only gave her a new perspective on life, but it also gave her a deeper insight into both subjects in her joint degree.

"The year I spent working in Germany was nothing short of life-changing. It was an eye-opening experience that deepened my understanding of European literature and philosophy, which enabled me to have a broader context to place my understanding of English Literature."

"Reading supported me to pursue my love of two disciplines and helped me to weave them into each other. I was able to create my own bespoke course."


After graduating, Joanna worked with TeachFirst for two years as a Reception teacher. With no initial goals becoming a teacher, she viewed the opportunity as a stepping stone to the corporate world.
However, the families, children and school stole Joanna's heart.

"I am now in my third year of teaching four and five year olds, but also lead on family outreach and adult education in my school. My ambition for the near future is to work with policy think-tanks, challenging policy makers and conducting research into how we can end social disadvantage in education. I am studying part-time towards an MA in Transformational Leadership, and I get paid to sing Little Donkey badly to a room of the happiest humans you'll ever meet. Teaching is not a dead-end, but a corridor of a thousand glitter-filled opportunities."

Opening YOUR MIND through literature

Joanna has some advice for anyone thinking about studying English at university.

"Do not box yourself in. And do not let anyone talk you out of the pure love you have for literature. It opens worlds and minds and philosophies that you never imagined could exist. Remember that literature is the human expression and reaction to history. History repeats itself. Books contain more wisdom than a Ted Talk."

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