Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Divine Intervention

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Divine Intervention

Article excerpt

It was "clear out your cupboards" day and I was on a journey of discovery into my teaching past. Much-loved but outdated textbooks, scripts from old school productions, years of class photographs and a box of dusty recorders were unearthed as I delved deeper into the hidden recesses of the stock cupboard.

I have never been good at parting with stuff. When I was 6 my mum donated a load of my old toys to the school jumble sale and I spent my pocket money buying them all back.

But on this day we had been given strict instructions: anything that wasn't gone by the end of the week would be put in the skip. I had already filled three black bags but the pile of things I couldn't bear to consign to the bin was growing.

Old thank-you cards from pupils, scrapbooks of art and poetry, photos of school trips - I put them all in cardboard boxes destined for my car. Now teaching is so dominated by heartless spreadsheets and veiled threats about performance, we cling even more tightly to memories of happier times in the classroom.

On the last shelf I found a dusty blue statue and a long-forgotten memory bubbled up in my mind...

Our outdoor PE session had been rained off mid-lesson so we had decamped inside for a spot of benchball. In our eagerness to get started I had forgotten to issue the standard warning about indoor ball games, so I could only watch aghast as a potentially winning pass from Ryan led to the ball soaring off target towards the RE display. …

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