Poet and teacher Mark Bird
Mark C bird lives on Stuart Road in Acton he describes himself as 'a part time children's writer/ illustrator, part time teacher and full time Dreambeast!'
He started creating the ps4k.com poems living in Buenos Aires 5 years ago. The stories evolved after moving to Amsterdam. Since living in Acton, he has published a poetry compilation for children - "Poems to make you... Laugh, Think, Explore & Believe."
Where do you live and why did you move there?
I live on Stuart Road, just behind Churchfield Road. My partner and I had been living in Amsterdam as expats. We had to relocate back to London. We were originally looking to buy in East Finchley, but kind of by accident visited Acton and loved the first house we looked at on Stuart Road. We've never looked back and have no intention of moving anywhere else in the foreseeable future.
What are your favourite bits of the area?
I love Churchfield Road and adore walking my dog around Acton and Springfield Park. I also love the architecture along the High Road.
Do you have any particular shops/restaurants/pubs yopu would recommend?
I love Anokha, Bake Me, The Station House, The Bark Club, Heart & Soul, Frank's and Park & Bridge on Churchfield Road. The best men's barber's has to be "D&A The Make Up of Hair" on the High Street. I also love The Aeronaut and the Lodge pizzeria by Acton Town tube. I can't wait for the new wine bar opening in January 2015 on Churchfield Road.
What's not so great about the area?
I hate the eyesore and waste of space that I think used to be a multi-storey car park on the High Street. It's been slightly improved with the montage of a huge oak tree.
How could it be improved?
I would also love if there was a more creative and local-friendly vision for the large space in front of Morrisons
Do you feel there is a strong community in W3?
I really appreciate the community feel in my local area. My neighbours look out for each other. In addition, my friends from other parts of the city and country can't believe how many people and business owners stop to chat as you travel along Churchfield Road.
What age do you teach and where do you teach?
I recently moved from being an art teacher in Tottenham to teaching a Year 4 class at a school just off Ladbroke Grove.
Is teaching getting harder - if so why?
Not really. I've always loved teaching children. To inspire and be inspired in return is an overwhelming and rewarding prospect. I've always taught in inner city schools and relish the challenges and rewards that offers. The only hard thing about it, is the constant goal-moving by whichever Government is in power. Being given a bad press is so damaging to the profession. 99% of the teachers I know work 10 hour days and are astoundingly committed.
When did you get into poetry?
I've enjoyed writing poetry since I was at primary school myself in the 70's. I like children's poetry - it helps me make sense of my own childhood and childhood of the present day.
Tell us about the website..
My website http://www.ps4k.com splits poems and stories into 4 main categories, endeavouring to help kids "Laugh, Think, Explore & Believe."
How can we encourage children to both read generally and enjoy poetry?
As obvious as it sounds, lead children to find books with a subject matter that really appeals to them. Getting boys to read is an issue I've encountered as teacher. I try to identify a child's idiosyncrasies and find authors and storylines that will open their imaginations and willingness to pick up a book independently.
Do you have a favourite poet/poem?
Two of my favourite poems are 'Geography Lesson' by Brian Patten childrenspoetryarchive.org | Poetry archive and To Any Reader by Robert Louis Stevenson : The Poetry Foundation
Would you like to share one of yours?
The most successful poem on my website is, "The Full Stop Day." It has been used in many schools and I always receive lots of feedback from parents and children alike. It's about that key time in a child's life when they inevitably have to move from the comfort of primary school into the unknown, wider world of secondary school.
Last six hours of primary school
Goodbye is getting near
The sums and sentences all done
The full stop day is here
Last five hours of primary school
Where everything's before
The aims and games and crazes
no one’s crazy for no more
Last four hours of primary school
Surrounded by a class
Who'll scatter soon and not return
when summer’s days have passed
Last three hours of primary school
One final lunchtime play
Instead of chasing friends
we try to chase and catch the day
Last two hours of primary school
The clock hands blur and skid
Signing shirts, remembering
the coolest things we did
Last one hour of primary school
With Sir who understood
And helped me see I could achieve
‘cos he believed I could
Last half hour of primary school
The assembly we all dread
We can not sing - us Year Six kings
The crown slips from our heads
Last ever second of primary school
The full stop rings in our ears
But a thousand chapters left to write
We must vacate our childhood site
For time moves on and time is right -
To leave our wonder years
Read more at Mark's Facebook poetry page Kids Poems & Stories - PS4K - For Children 5 to 500
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