Today’s little bit of controvertial rhetoric is a book: The Road To Hell. (links here and here). I’ve not read it all yet, but enough so far for it to make an impression. And it’s not cheering me up much.
I sat at home this morning reading it and listening to the children at the primary school over the way singing beautifully. I was avoiding work. The girls of Stage IV are a bit hard work. Conversations with other staff reveal a general feeling that hey are not the most communicative class. ‘Survivors’ one teacher called them: they choose the subjects with most bookwork and least brainwork so that they can ‘survive’ the exams by swatting. I know this is common practise everywhere — back at DMU we used to get students through clearing, sifting the forms for good candidates like bargain hunters in the January sales; camping out all night by the telephones to take calls from disillusioned A-Level students: “Yes, you can study Information Technology in Leicester”. But for me it was different. I chose that same course because it seemed to offer the Goldylocks combination of hardware and software for me. By doing my shopping early I got a course that was Just Right. So I worked hard and got a first. Much of my learning was done in the classroom during term-time motivated by the joy of learning rather than at home during revision time motivated by fear. My own expereince of education is completely different from (some of) these ladies here.
Last night I sat at home listening to Lemon Jelly. Something about that music has a sort of home-counties feel to it. I was cooking chapatis with potatoe in them, but pretending that I wasn’t in Africa. I’m off to teach Stage IV about Unix in a few minutes. Wish me luck!