Friday, 1 July 2011

The view from here


Seriously, highs and lows like you would not believe, and one thing is absolutely certain, if I did my job properly this blog would not exist. Which is sad really because it's this blog that feeds so much of what I teach, via the random surfing I do, it also clarifies my thoughts and I would say that it very much improves students learning too.

Teachers on the whole are a very self assured bunch, we work in isolated spurts and rarely get the chance to see not only the work of others, but how others teach. What a ridiculous system, and more so when someone is able to come in and judge you on the most mercurially subjective set of criteria yet seen. Inspections are never nice, they rarely focus on the good, they just nit pick at the minutiae of your lesson until you are convinced you are complete and utter shite. I do not lie when I say that OFSTED inspections have caused some to take their own life and many others to breakdown and leave the profession, when in fact they were perfectly good teachers. OFSTED judge you on minutes of a lesson, sweeping aside the evidence of years of good teaching. My contradictory debrief which was issued in a corridor outside the lesson I was teaching was breath takingly contradictory. Praised for the contemporary nature of the course, the ambition of research and experimental use of media I was then told that progress during the fraction of a lesson that was observed was patchy! You see, that is what we are up against.
I have always believed, especially as a parent that progress should be uneven, that we all need to take stock, and that creativity can never be applied in nice even doses, some students will make 'steady progress' other have bursts of energy, highs and lows. Why should we always work at the same pace? The ignorance of that assumption and many other notions inspectors believe in, that each child should be bashed through the same shaped whole is depressing, and for a while I wanted to give up. I ranted for 2 whole days, and then I had a little bit of luck.

I had wanted to visit the RCA degree show, and guess what? My school closed for a strike, and so I got to go to it. I came away so completely uplifted, the memory of the last 2 days is just that. It is distant, like a bad taste that repeats, it also recedes and now I'm fired with enthusiasm. Not least because after the show I went to a painting master class of which more later. First a few stolen moments from the show. I saw some gorgeous people and some amazing work it is a brilliantly innovative place and whilst outcomes are patchy it never disappoints.
Is this woman not amazing? Total style, those bangles, that dress, that lovely top knot. The whole package was brilliantly executed. I recognised her straight away as Wendy Dagworthy, Head of Textiles and Fashion at RCA, she is living proof that you can age with grace and style without resorting to fakery, she is beautiful.

It is a great place to see the young and how they dress, I loved the shoes below.

she was part of this divine couple.

It is closed for today but if you read this and love art please go and trust me it is worth the effort to cross the bridge into Battersea to see the new fine art building, they are monumental and as exciting as any gallery.


materfamilias said...

So glad you've managed to put that nonsense in perspective for what it is. And at least they did manage to recognize so much that is good about your curriculum -- I'm sure you're an inspiring teacher.
And wow, yes, that woman manages elegance with ease, making no apologies for her grey -- wonderful!

Claire Cooper said...

Your thoughts seem to come from my head! I am so totally with you on all you have said. Have been put down as a teacher and made to crumble. but know that all you have said is right. Education can be rather mechanical - kind of reminds me of Pink Floyd's the wall video. But when I get creative and see creativity - I want to share it with others.

indigo16 said...

Mater, the nonsense reared it's head and bit me in the butt, we were classed as failing and now all hell is going to break loose. I dread to think what will happen to this blog if they double my paperwork.

Claire, I don't know anyone who respects OFSTED they are so removed from reality and so easily swayed by bullshit I wish I could just walk away, yet in my heart I know I am right.