Old books, New Surprises.

I had a marvellous moment in class last week. I discovered something new about a book that I thought I knew inside out, a book that I’d taught many times and read cover to cover on many, many occasions. We were revising Of Mice and Men, in preparation for the prose exam next week. Our focus…

Is Matt Damon right about creativity?

On Sunday, the traffic on the M4 was horrible. I was on my way home from Wembley, having watched my team win a cup competition not important enough to dwell on. After around 2 hours of struggling out of London, I found myself desperately clinging to the last few percent of my phone’s battery. And, as…

Things I wish they’d told me.

I graduated with a PGCE from The University of Bristol  in 2011. Here’s five things I wish they’d told me. 1. Just because things are shiny and new, it doesn’t mean the kids learn more. OK. Maybe I’m slightly exaggerating here. I was never explicitly told that just by making things appear sparkly and laced with a ‘new’ piece of technology…

Dwelling on the Positive

One thing I hadn’t anticipated when I trained as a teacher was quite how much of a battering my social life would take. Having spent the best part of two years working not very hard in a not very glamorous office job, I became very accustomed to leaving work behind at 4pm, and spending my evenings…

Is education in England too easy?

The title for this blog comes from a discussion I had with two girls (twins) who I teach in year 11. Despite being on track to achieve brilliantly in their English GCSEs, they don’t consider themselves to be fluent speakers of English. They are, however, fluent speakers of Italian and Portuguese. They joined the school about midway through…

Baruch Spinoza and Defining our Principles

Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) was a rationalist philosopher, whose work Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical order was published posthumously in 1677. I first came across The Ethics at University, having decided to take the Spinoza module because of the cult status of the maverick Professor teaching the course. Throughout the module, what struck me as remarkable about the core text was its…

Influence: A pledge

The caption accompanying this image has become an important part of my school’s ethos over the past two years. It appears in assemblies, on the website, and is a consistent message given to students. What I like most about the message is that it forces students to think about their autonomy – that they are…