Saturday, November 26, 2005

Old Wine?

Reading Don's blog today, I couldn't help thinking about the implications of the new school building which is struggling to emerge from the mud - rather like the orcs in LOTR? Don talks about new beginnings - and I know what he means - but new beginnings won't happen without some new ideas, some truly energetic and inspiring leadership, and a real vision of what a school can be.
I'm going to stick my neck out and say that despite the obvious fact that most teachers are exhausted by the job it is vital that they are able to enjoy what they are doing. They can't do this if the clientele are disruptive and rude. What makes the pupils like this? boredom? upbringing? indifference? What can teachers do about these factors? Can't do anything about the upbringing, that's for sure.
The day of the boring teacher, however, is surely past. I can remember being bored out of my tree in some classes at school. But I was an academically inclined soul, quite content to supplement the deficiencies of my English teacher's technique with a packet of sweets - I recall Mintolas with special affection - and a book of my own under the desk. In a class of 40 it was quite possible to hide quietly and ignore everyone else. Nowadays I'd probably be much more aggressive - as indeed I was, recently, in the one meeting of an FE class I attended. Life is too short to be given a handout and then have it read, word by word, by a teacher who only has 5 adults in front of her.
If new teaching methods - blogging, for example, and podcasting - aren't adopted, that new school will be just like the old one, only smaller.

Oh - the title is biblical, by the way.


  1. Anonymous11:48 PM

    I just hope the new skin comes with a modicum of new wine as well.

  2. Old wine - Matthew 9:17 (among others).

    I especially liked the Lord of the Rings simile - I can think of some "old" teachers who would relate very easily to the pupils as marauding orcs image. However, a bit of thought might suggest that this would cast them in the role of Saruman. :-)

    And as for the Mintolas under the desk... I hope you had enough for everyone?