Monthly Archives: May 2018

Teaching and Learning

When I teach, I learn. That’s what Seneca said some thousands of years ago. I used it in an essay at college, but it has stayed with me. This year what did I learn from those 80 or so faces that have sat in my classrooms. What did they teach me.

I suppose the most important message was that teaching should be friendly but it is never friendship. Like a parent, a teacher must be strong enough to make decisions that are not popular. This idea of doing what is right and not what is easiest helps to make a good teacher.

The next message I learnt is that the rich and privileged children I have taught this year are just children. If you ignore the Lexus and the Chanel slippers, you just have a child with needs and wants. A boiling cauldron of hormones and ideas that are not yet quite ready to ladled out into wider society. Children need guidance and help if they are to become the next generation.

Finally I learnt that I am not what I aspire to be. I can be as petty and impatient as my students. I teach bad lessons. I teach mediocre lessons. I learnt that even good teachers are not always good. They have flaws. However, I learnt to keep trying. I learnt to walk back in to rooms where the enthusiasm had died and try to reignite sparks. I built relationships. I sustained relationships, and in doing so, taught above, beyond and around the book.

I hope my students have learned something this year beyond some grammar and vocabulary . I have been taught resilience, acceptance and perseverance and for that, dear students, I am grateful.


The Emperors New Clothes

The repetition is the hard part. You would have thought I would realise by now but that pattern hits me like an abstract every time.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m bemused. A clever little sausage like myself takes pride in his intellect. I can solve puzzles, identify trends and, ironically see the patterns where others see the chaos. It’s a gift.

But not within me. I am a riddle to myself. I have the enigma code embedded in my DNA and I cannot crack it. This means that time and again I am taken by surprise.

Once I got my diagnosis I thought everything would improve. I could solve myself, learn what was expected, and develop an algorithm for living life. I can’t.

People want me to lie. They want me to not point things out. They want a celebration of success that refuses to see the shortcomings. Well I am sorry. The emperor is naked and I can’t stand by and say nothing. On the Asperger Path we speak out and we are castigated for doing so. When bad policies were written, I would highlight the errors. When there were causes for concern, it was me who would speak up in the meetings.

There was nothing wrong with my work. My students were happy and my lessons were well crafted. I was popular with colleagues. I was thanked for my input.

I am not required next year. It was me that was the problem. That is the pattern I never see and I may never understand.