The English Teacher’s Privilege

“Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The last couple of weeks have hopefully made many of us more aware of our privilege.…

Poetry Off-Piste #2: Freedom in Lockdown?

When one road closes, maybe students can help us find other paths. Under normal circumstances, I'd spend the start of this term frantically marking student work, sharing exemplars and breaking down the best answers into manageable steps to help students pick up just a few more marks. In short, making sure that my classes are…

Creating a Word-Rich Classroom

"They have been at a great feast of languages, and stol'n the scraps."Shakespeare- Love's Labour's Lost I spent last year as a teacher-vagrant, lugging boxes of resources from room to room, teaching in spaces unsuited to my subject and struggling to set up routines with classes who I taught in four different places. I imagine…

A Curriculum of Compassion #2: Connection Building

Planning Curriculum for Connection Building “The curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning and employment” Ofsted inspection framework 2019 The recent OFSTED focus on curriculum intent, implementation and impact may have frustrated some, but now I’m outside of Ofsted’s reach, I’ve been able just to take advantage…

Poetry off-piste:

Great teachers "take joy in going off piste, using deep subject expertise to go beyond the syllabus".Tom Sherrington, The Learning Rainforest The Year 10 Great Poetry Debate Arriving in a new school this year, teaching a new exam board and a new GCSE syllabus to Year 10, I think I often failed to go 'off…

The Bard Abroad

Last week journalist Rebecca Reid caused a small edutwitter storm by claiming that Shakespeare should be scrapped from the curriculum "because it's boring and we have hundreds of other more relevant writers to study". Like most of the other 700 English teacher commenters, this seemingly flippant dismissal annoyed me. I love Shakespeare and I love…