DAVID Rogers’ imaginative approach to his day job has earned him the prestigious title of Britain’s Dream Teacher.
The Priory School geography guru, who encourages the use of Twitter and mobile phones in lessons, is one of seven winners of a video competition launched by Jamie Oliver and the YouTube website to find the nation’s best teachers across a range of core curriculum subjects.
Mr Rogers, 33, who became head of geography at the Southsea school in January 2008 – just four weeks before the department was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted – said he was delighted with the accolade and £10,000 prize money.
He beat 21 geography teachers who entered the category with his vivid lesson on longshore drift, the movement of sand and pebbles along the beach due to wind and waves.
Mr Rogers said: ‘I’m thrilled to have won, because it reflects just how far our department has come since the Ofsted.
‘The team here is really forward-thinking. We’re always trying to come up with innovative ways of teaching topics.
‘I’m a great believer in using more than just textbooks and so-called traditional methods in the classroom.’
Mr Rogers was inspired to make his winning video after noticing year 11 students were struggling to understand longshore drift.
It wasn’t a huge leap of faith for a man who won a Microsoft award in 2009 for using Twitter to test year eight pupils on their knowledge of piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
Mr Rogers said: ‘I went out to Goring-by-Sea beach, where I live, and filmed myself making a diagram in the sand and re-enacting the movement of the beach matter with a dance.
‘I used the video in the classroom and apart from the students having a giggle at my expense, it helped them grasp the concept.
‘Since winning the competition I’ve had other professionals approach me to tell me they had made similar videos to show to their students.’
Mr Rogers and his colleagues are discussing how to use the £7,000 prize money.
His favourite idea so far is a weather station on the school roof with a webcam attached to monitor climate change.
A further £3,000 for personal use will go towards his wedding in August.