The Quill Guy blurb 2009-2013

I’ve decided to update the introduction to my website to reflect its niche as a working classroom teacher who applies principles in real-life situations. For the sakes of posterity, saved here is the previous blurb.

Who is The Quill Guy?

An English teacher. Charged with inspiring the hearts and minds of some of our finest specimens for the next generation, he thinks it’s an important profession: perhaps too important to take seriously.  Saying that, he’ll do pretty much anything it takes to inspire, cajole and provoke those under his care. That, and maintain this blog.

Who should be reading this?

Primarily, him. It’s full of stuff that he would have liked to have known when he first started teaching. After that?  Other teachers, specifically those of English. Most of hits come from teachers wanting to see my resource materials. Anyone else? Students, past and present, who want to see examples of how school life extends beyond their seats and desks. Is that it? He knows some parents follow this blog too, although it isn’t a replacement organiser for deadlines. Oh, and he sometimes posts student voice on here, too.

Why bother?

Inspired by the international teaching community, his lessons have benefited from a varied diet of advice and ideas. Therefore, he wants to give something back. Using technology was his initial focus. There are, however, established blogs that provide excellent content on technology in the classroom. There aren’t so many, though, that apply this to the pedagogy of English teaching. Therefore, most of his reflection is of how ICT can use traditional methods of teaching in an innovative way.

It should be said that keeping a blog is also an excellent opportunity to reflect and assert in a space outside the demands of the school bell. He’s a firm believer in wasting time in school. That is, he actually enjoys addressing the plethora of triviality that doesn’t affect him or the grades of those he teaches: finding lost glasses; repairing  falling-outs; listening to the latest TV news. While he would be more productive to block any/all of that, he chooses not to. Why?

Is it because he thinks teachers represent (what society inherently believes) are the human faces of authority?
Perhaps it might be because it’s more entertaining to be a little childish at times throughout the day?
Or could it be because he thinks that what a teacher is, is important than what he or she teaches?

English isn’t the most important subject in school.

Literacy is.

That does not just mean literacy enough to ‘read’ (not just comprehend) fiction, but rather digital and cultural literacy. Literacy enough to be aware of how the world must necessarily treat all of us as a means-to-an-end, and how we might one day, in our own time, use the technology available to us to enrich our imaginative lives (and have an idea for how to play the games of life!). That is the hope – that his students will realise that whatever is most important in life is surely not only available because someone likes your CV, or what your grandfather might have done or not done. And those things are rather important.

So tell me, Mr Quill Guy. Isn’t this all just a bit ambitious?

Of course, you have already read some of my vague teaching ambition. The lived truth of the job is different. Teaching is hard. It aspires, yes, but it deals daily with inadequacy, ill-health, and doubt. I’ve worked inner-city Hull, plush-city York, and rural Yorkshire. I know that my ambitions to aspire to more than manage my classes to pass exams may appear lofty and misplaced to some. If I read this, I would perhaps think such ideas painfully earnest. Therefore, all my posts, suggestions and work are tempered with this fact:

I’m actually living them.

I’m in the classroom day-in, day-out, performing, planning, and marking. Everything I write or suggest or try has a pretty realistic acid test: Friday afternoon period 5. Or boredom. Or a windy day. Or a person who has hardly slept. If my teaching doesn’t work, then I’d soon know about it, largely because I’ll be there as I’m doing it.

I don’t write about things that I wouldn’t try myself.

Therefore, it should go without saying that those who wish to offer opinion on what might work in a current classroom might have little truck within the walls of my words.

So, on that note, enjoy! Any comments, collaboration or criticism please direct to the comments bar or speak to me in school.