It’s what I’m good at, and you honestly won’t hear me use that phrase very often.
As the official leader of The Society of Burnt Out Teachers, I nowadays realise that although my passion for teaching English and English Literature will never waver, the transference of my enthusiasm doesn’t have to be within a classroom. No. In some ways, it’s easier to deliver it within a mentoring relationship. Because, as most good teachers will agree, at a certain age, its RELATIONSHIP which is the single most important factor in the delivery of successful teaching.
Mentoring allows a relationship to flourish (hopefully) and then, once established, it’s an open landscape on which, as a trusted mentor, you can help to build whatever scene and whichever structure, will most benefit and satisfy the mentee.
I’ve mentored a lot of your people, before and during my teaching career. Nothing sparks me like being able to nurture an ambition in someone. I love to help breathe hope into other people’s hearts. Nothing gives me a renewed sense of purpose like showing someone else their purpose.
As part of my Art and Design course, I had to redesign a book cover. I chose one I can quote from in my sleep.
In the UK, this book has been on the curriculum for the past three hundred years and has been loved and hated by countless students and English teachers. However, because yet another education secretary is determined to stick his dirty, great paw print on the history of education, (Michael Gove puts out another light in the darkening sky) a recent reshuffle has removed it.
Out of my desire to see teenagers continue to pick up this novella, came the idea for a bold, new cover for Of Mice and Men.
Today, I tested the design on a group of bored looking teenagers.
I laid out different covers, including mine and they voted with Starburst sweets.
Mine won by a large majority.
I’m not boasting.
But, for once, I am celebrating my achievement.
Perhaps because I so rarely taste success, or perhaps because I am trying to counterbalance my terrible tendency towards perfectionism. Either way, today I have done something I can be proud of.
And it’s only for a silly part time course that doesn’t even matter in the real world. And it’s only me who will ever really know about it.