I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog recently. Not that I haven’t been writing – I have about five posts in draft form, none of which I’m particularly happy with – but I’ve lost a bit of confidence in what I’ve wanted to say. To be honest, I’ve been feeling a bit of a fraud, a house of cards if you like. Writing a regular blog can be a strange old experience. The more you find compliments the more you expect them. But I started the blog as a self-refection exercise. And when I look in that teacher mirror I’m not always happy with what I see.
One of the great joys of writing this blog is that I can share some great things which have been happening in my classroom. It becomes a place to promote the creativity that some of my pupils have and, let’s be honest, promote myself in the process. However, I have started to notice a flaw in that. If I was being honest could I say that every pupil in my class benefits in the same way? I couldn’t. Are there still those disengaged kids who don’t get it, don’t make enough progress and don’t even like my classes? Of course there are. And that makes me feel like a fraud.
I read a post recently about how, when Inspectors are in school, or local dignitaries, the Management team often wheel out the twenty or so perfect students who always wear exemplary uniform and are the brightest of the bright. Like a Supermarket hiding slightly shoddy goods at the back of the shelf, we want our schools to look good, on the surface at least. Yes, it seems, you can judge a book by its cover. And, while I may feel aggrieved at this, I may bristle at the thought, how often does my classroom become a microcosm of that?
I’ve blogged about how wonderful my classroom is at times. I’ve blogged about the true engagement my students display when they produce incredible work and surprise me at every turn. What I haven’t blogged about is the kid who really doesn’t get it. The one who starts the year slightly resentfully and refuses to join in. The one who doesn’t manage to progress in the same way as the others. Where is his blog post?
If I’m to take myself seriously as a teacher and, indeed as a blogger, then I have to address that. I could talk all day about the successful learners in my classes; there are loads of them. But those who we often try to forget, try to hide away because, deep down, we know we have failed them in some way, are rarely discussed publicly. Perhaps my blog should focus on them for a while. What did I do to change their expectations? How did I try to improve their learning experiences? As teachers we try to pretend that we don’t promote a hierarchy of success, but we do. All the time. Perhaps by focusing on those whom I don’t reach will give this blog some relevance.