Archive for the ‘school’ Tag

Back to School

Summer is finally over, Curly Boy’s first day back at school today. New teacher, new uniform, except the trousers are too small and I shall have to go and change them today, sending him in an old pair. He has shot up over the summer and I realise what a different body type he is from my other lanky two.

I am planning on blitzing the writing now, just two weeks before I start back at work, losing my precious day off as the grip of finances tightens… hopefully teaching one night a week, if the bookings start rolling in- Nottingham Trent University are running a series of Creative Short Courses out of their Art & Design Department and I pitched to do a ten week course on creative writing: Writing the Right Writing (yes, clumsy title I know). I aim to take a tour through blogging, poetry, stage, screen, novel, short story, non fiction- I’ll be asking participants to try each genre and explore what mode of writing suits their topic. I have realised that sometimes I may sit down to write a poem and discover that actually this story needs to be told a different way. All I have to do now is write my lesson plans… no pressure!


Running hell for leather into reading for pleasure

I think it would be fair to say that I tend to run headlong into things. Once I’ve decided I’ll do it, I just do it. This has had disastrous results at times – marriage and divorce springs to mind – but something good generally comes of it all – in that case a couple of kids who are pretty good company at times and a bit of wisdom, not to mention some great ideas for poems and stories.

So, at the beginning of the year I applied for a job as Creative Practitioner at a local comp – the remit being to encourage and enthuse year 8s about reading for pleasure. My interview was by a panel of six students, the teacher who heads up literacy at the school and the regional manager of the project as a whole – he’s called the Creative Agent – what a great title.

I was thrilled to be appointed and rushed headlong towards the project as is my wont. However, after our first planning meeting I had to meet with HR – they needed all my details for the enhanced CRB check – now you see where I’m going with this… weeks have passed… 6 in fact. Then I discover that the local council sat on the paper work for 4 weeks before passing it on. CRB reckon to clear applications within 4 weeks of receipt – at this rate the summer term will be over!

I was really impressed with the group I am supposed to be working with, maybe there is hope for the future after all – and I’m not talking about a carefully selected group of high achievers either, the group are made up from a cross-section of pupils, some ‘reluctant readers’ or dyslexic, some may have ADHD etc – although to me they just seemed like regular human beings – which I think is the great thing about outsiders going in to schools to work with pupils.

Given the constraints of the curriculum at the moment teachers seem hard pushed, targets get in the way, meeting guidelines, statementing children in order to gain extra funding bla bla bla.

The thing about what I can do is that I flit in and flit out none the wiser, so if some kid is known as having  some kind of ‘statement’ I’ve no need to know, I just get on with the task in hand.

I have great plans about what to do and how to approach the project. The head of dept wants a reading cafe in the school, I want to get them blogging and writing and to feel free to read whatever they want to read rather than what they feel they should be reading. I LOVE to read, whether it’s the Metro for a good shout or something deep and meaningful.

If only that one piece of paper would come through and allow me to get stuck in there!