A bit about teaching.

I’ve had a few quite nice comments (in the last post) about my teaching skills. But I’d better set the record straight. Firstly of all there were a lot of occasions when I was a hard and bullying teacher and I am not proud of that. But I changed over time and I put that down to the students who showed me quite clearly that that was the way to go. Towards the end of my career I developed a method that blended very firm discipline at the beginning which eased of once the students learned that I was mostly bluff.

Secondly circumstances that I need not relate meant that I had developed over the years from teaching only English and History to being able, and enthusiastic, to teach English, Maths, History, Geography, Science and woodwork. Because of this, and because I has stumbled into teaching in a small school where I had almost complete dealing with year nine students I was able to develop an uncommon type of classroom.

To explain; the powers that be would set out a curriculum and a timetable which might, for example, have me teaching my class one some particular day, English, English, Maths, (Recess) History,History,(Lunch) Environmental Studies, Geography. Now because I had the students for all these subjects I was not always too concerned, as my colleagues were, with the sound of the bell. So if at the end of period two the English class was really rolling along we might give Maths a miss and pick it up next day. I might also decide that the class had enough work to go on with so at any one time some students would be working on Maths, some on Environmental Studies and others on English. It did require me to be aware of where each student was in their studies but most of the time they seemed to concentrate on what was most needed. Sometimes a student might come to me and tell me he/she was in the middle of a particular chapter in a novel and could they go outside and sit under a tree and read.

But sometimes there were occasions when some student might raise a problem of a personal nature and, as I also had responsibility for their pastoral welfare,  we might go off on a tangent. An example of this was the day a girl asked me if she could play a song that was on the radio and she wanted the class to discuss it. I asked her why and she said she didn’t want to say but she thought it was important.

I’m going to play it now and then tomorrow or the next day I will get back to talking about William Shakespeare. The song is “Scar” and it is sung by an Australian singer Missy Higgins. One of the things I like about her is that she has made no attempt to Americanize her Australian accent. So hit the link and below I have the words. And you can tell me whether you think the topic would have been worth discussing.

This is the link

SCAR

Missy Higgins.

He left a card, a bar of soap and a scrubbing brush next to a note 
That said “use these down to your bones” 
And before I knew I had shiny skin and it felt easy being clean like him 
I thought “this one knows better than I do” 

A triangle trying to squeeze through a circle 
He tried to cut me so I’d fit 

And doesn’t that sound familiar? Doesn’t that hit too close to home? 
Doesn’t that make you shiver; the way things could’ve gone? 
And doesn’t it feel peculiar when everyone wants a little more? 
And so that I do remember to never go that far, 
Could you leave me with a scar? 

So the next one came with a bag of treats, she smelled like sugar and 
spoke like the sea 
And she told me don’t trust them, trust me 
Then she pulled at my stitches one by one, looked at my insides clicking 
her tongue and said 
“This will all have to come undone” 

A triangle trying to squeeze through a circle 
She tried to cut me so I’d fit 

And doesn’t that sound familiar? Doesn’t that hit too close to home? 
Doesn’t that make you shiver; the way things could have gone? 
And doesn’t it feel peculiar when everyone wants a little more? 
And so that I do remember to never go that far, 
Could you leave me with a scar? 

And I realized just in time, although my old self was hard to find 
You can bathe me in your finest wine but I’ll never give you mine 
”cause I’m a little bit tired of fearing that I’ll be the bad fruit nobody buys 
Tell me, did you think we’d all dream the same? 

And doesn’t that sound familiar? Doesn’t that hit too close to home? 
Doesn’t that make you shiver; the way things could have gone? 
And doesn’t it feel peculiar when everyone wants a little more? 
And so that I do remember to never go that far, 
Could you leave me with a scar? 
Could you leave me with a scar?

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14 thoughts on “A bit about teaching.

  1. My thoughts are that this may have been more suitable for a therapy group than a classroom. I suspect there were reasons the girl wanted to discuss it that may have needed deeper, more secure, discussion.

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    1. Yes.It happened on a few occasions and I was a little out of my depth, but the students (girls mostly) were rather uncomfortable going to the school counselor at one stage,because they were met with a very narrow minded woman from the Ark . Thankfully this changed with time. But there were many kids in the school who had little open contact with their parents.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Derrick, I just went back through my diary and found the occasion. The girlin question had mentioned that it was a point that she wanted brought up with the boys present as she was concerned with the different expectations that boys had in their dealings with the girls, It was an ongoing discussion we had in the classroom from time to time. But thanks for making me go back and check it out.

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  2. The emotion behind this girl’s song takes me back to what it was like to be a teen girl absolutely riddled with angst, hurting over a failed relationship as well as miscommunication with parents. What a dreadful time of life! I struggled to navigate it then and now as a parent to a teen daughter. just as much. Would be handy having a map.

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      1. Book material, like I said 🙂

        More seriously: that the girl could ask such a thing in class meant the atmosphere was far more open than any I’ve heard about or thought existed outside of very special schools. Talking to parents at home is one thing, talking about it with peers (of all genders) in class is another. Must have been truly inspiring being in your class!

        Liked by 1 person

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