An interview with Alom Shaha

18 February 2022 An

How did you come to be an educational writer?

A couple of years into my teaching career, I did an MSc in “Science Communication”. This led to a job at the BBC, researching and writing for science and history documentaries. I eventually ended up becoming a TV producer and director, but left the industry to go back into teaching. I then applied the skills I had developed in TV to writing and producing educational resources. 

What do you think are the necessary skills for working in this sector?

Excellent writing and editing skills, alongside good subject knowledge.

Tell us about your typical working day.

I teach at a secondary school on Thursdays and Fridays, I spend the day with my youngest daughter on Wednesdays, and I spend the few hours I have between school runs and household chores on Mondays and Tuesdays working on writing projects as well as doing any preparation and marking I need to do for my teaching job. So, there really isn’t a “typical” day for me.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The thing I most enjoy is the satisfaction that comes with completing a project – I love “having written” as some other writers have quipped.

What would you consider to be the main challenges currently facing educational writers, and what can be done to address them?

When it comes to writing resources for use in schools, textbooks, worksheets etc. I don’t think there is sufficient professional training or quality control. There ought to be some sort of professional accreditation or training (perhaps a Masters level course) that would make writing educational resources a viable career path for more teachers.

Do you have any advice for those starting out in educational writing?

Find good people to work with.

Alom Shaha is a dad of two, science teacher, and author of books including Mr Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder. He has spent most of his professional life trying to share his passion for science and education with the public. He has produced, directed, and appeared in a number of television programmes for broadcasters such as the BBC, and has held fellowships from the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts (NESTA) and the Nuffield Foundation. Alom has represented his community as an elected politician, been chair of a school governing board, and has volunteered at a range of charitable organisations. He/ Him.