13 Jan ’13 Teaching 2

If would have been an outstanding lesson had you modelled to the students what it was you wanted to see.

darkandstormyI guess modelling what I wanted the students to produce was / would be a useful strategy.

Moving to the English classroom, from the sports field, I simply didn’t expect to be modelling the skills I was teaching as frequently as I do now. I am not sure why I drew that conclusion. As a PE teacher, I modelled every lesson, if not me, then a capable student.

Why did I make have to make a conscious effort to model good English? Probably because I am trying to be a good English teacher. I fret over my lessons, grammar, punctuation and terminology. I fret over the quality of my own resources and rarely trust the spiel checker these days.

I am starting my Y10 class off with poetry. Last night I was inspired by Jamie Foxx’s appearance on Jonathan Ross and his recitation on a few lines of ‘100 Black Coffins,’ a feature song from the Django Unchained soundtrack. The lyrics are smokin,’ set against a haunting backing track that left me with goose bumps, exploring a topic most certainly worth taking a stand against, slavery. Surely leverage to re-introduce poetry after my first failed attempt.

Gentleman, you had my curiosity… but now you have my attention. – Calvin Candie.

Once their very souls had been stripped of the youthful prejudice towards poetry, (thank you in advance Rick Ross) we would go on to fall in love with poetry and ignite a thirst for learning about poetry right. Wrong.

Did they not appreciate the divergent approach to gaining their interest. Was Jamie Foxx not cool enough, Rick Ross not sharp enough, slavery not emotive enough. Did they not realise I hard I had worked – guerrilla poetry and word warfare.

Surely they were interested. Surely they knew me well enough to know I was sincerely interested in their views.

Well I told ’em, I told them in no uncertain terms that they needed to step up and be a part of their own futures. I put myself out there and told ’em. Bare in mind I’m a wannabe English teacher and that my modelled short poem addressing the student’s who answers, ‘Don’t know Sir’ maybe a bit twee, but it is born out of my frustration and their lack of trust in our class, a lack of bravery on their part to open up their understanding and opinions to classroom heckles. I want each student to know that ‘we’ are the class are responsible for their success. Not me, not them, but us. We have no room for passengers in this class, coasters, and that they are expected to take part.

Who me? –

Yes you.


– Don’t know Sir.

(Don’t care. And if I am honest, why should I?)


I asked you, a question. Think about the question.

– (and I, gave you, an answer.)

Don’t know.


So there you have it. The one student lesson.

The impasse. The questions been asked.

Can’t be arsed.

(Why can’t, you lot, just accept my non-answer and jog on, to someone else.)


You’re probably thinking, “Why can’t I just accept your non-answer?”

‘Cos that’s exactly what it is.

A non-answer.

I am, interested, in your answer.

Your POV matters, it matters to me. It possibly matters to me, more than it does to you, right now.


In fact, You matter.

You matter. Even if you think you answer doesn’t matter.


Your answer helps me, help other students to understand.

Your answer pollinates new thinking.

Your answer directs the lesson film.

Your answer, is the lesson.

Not my question.




And as for why? Why should you care about my question?


Good question.

I barely have your attention, show me your curiosity.

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2 Responses

  1. This is absolutely beautiful! #PoetryMatters #YouMatter

    Thank you!

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