Thursday, October 19, 2006

Not blogging but singing

Every teacher knows the sinking feeling when they have a great idea or - if you're an English teacher - a super text and it falls like lead in the class. That's frustrating enough; you feel depressed or challenged depending on the time of year, but you have to keep going. Even worse, however, is when you have a bright student who hasn't realised what hard work is - or who simply isn't interested in improving. Many bright pupils can survive on their wits till about S3; after that success tends to involve application as well as natural ability.

I'm feeling a bit disenchanted today. I know blogs work as a great way of keeping work in English interesting and fresh, an answer to the old question "how do you prepare for an exam in English?" But like everything else, they only work if the pupil produces the original posts. The blog illustrated above, wildbank, has been grinding along in fits and starts because its owner had yet to grasp the concept of "little and often" - and the idea that, as footballers practise ball skills, writers practise writing skills.

I need a new metaphor along the "you can lead a horse to water ..." lines. Suggestions welcome! Meanwhile, I shall remind myself that I have a life, about which I shall blog when I return from another sojurn at The Cathedral of The Isles, where I have organised a weekend Singing Workshop for Mr Blethers to share his magic. I expect we shall all be working hard there, 'cos it's more fun if you do things properly.

Who needs to teach English?


  1. Hi Chris, the poetry hour was good fun but the censoring took me totally by surprise, I think you were probably lucky to get away with reading your anti-war poem! Yes there was a bit of a kaffufle and a quick skim over my other poems by the sound guy when he cut me out... I felt as though all my fairly innocent poems suddenly appeared controversial and overtly political. However it sure was an interesting experience but I don't think they'll invite me back in a hurry!!

  2. "You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead" - Stan Laurel

    Not very helpful I expect, but it amused me.

  3. Did it work better that last time because the two girls encouraged each other? The sense of community they had was a good start and may have clued them in more quickly to the value of the blogging community. Can you find your new pupil a writing partner?

    On an unrelated note, you'll need to tell us more about the censorship controversy.

  4. David, you're suggesting I work harder! (I'm not really looking for more pupils ...) Seriously, I'd have thought a reasonably bright S4 pupil would have enough audience in people like you - after all, you're "ra public", aren't you? BTW, one of the Progress Report bloggers has re-entered the blog fray with a question.

    As for the censorship story, you'll find it over at sorlil where you can also read the offending poem.