It’s been one of those weeks for sure. One of those where you barely catch your breath, but whenever you do it is charged with a thrill of delight. It’s the pleasure of feeling you made a difference, that all the things you seemed to spend forever working on and planning go off without a hitch and are appreciated by those involved.
Like the Travels In Time website launch on Tuesday evening in our new school Library. We did the project itself way back in the summer term, but as is the way with such things we have only just managed to publish the results. I think they look quite cool, and certainly all those gathered for the launch seemed to agree it was worth the wait. What was most special about the event, however, was seeing multiple generations in the school sharing experiences. From twelve year olds to ladies and gents in their nineties, everyone was clicking away on our iMacs and enjoying the website we put together. Plus there was cake. What more could anyone want? I think it is crucial that we get more adults from the community into schools to experience what a (mostly!) exciting and positive atmosphere it is. Destroy the myths of the media about hoodies, virtual bullies and a youth gone to waste. And openness, in all its forms, is the only way to do it.
Or what about the student press gang workshop on Tuesday morning? I put my ‘real life’ hat on and talked about writing and publishing and running a record label and all of that… And then proceeded to run around like a loon, working with the multiple small groups to achieve their targets. Sure, there were problems and things rapidly skewed from the original timetable and plan, but that’s part of the fun, part of the learning experience for all of us. Still, we had video interviews with staff going on, reviews being written of other enrichment activities, calendar planning, illustrations and goodness knows what all else. It was ace.
And then on Wednesday I had my Exeter Goes Pop! hat on for a year 11 Leisure and Tourism class, talking them through the design process for the posters as a way of modelling the design process. I really do think it is invaluable to be able to show students that you have a life outside of the school day, and how that life can enhance their learning (and your teaching) experience. And did I mention the animation work I was doing with a Year 8 Modern Foreign Languages class? It’s really exciting to be able to move outside the comfort zone of teaching Art, or at least to bring something of the creative process to other curriculum areas. One day all learning will be like that… Perhaps.
On Wednesday too we had Michael Brennan Wood in, working with a group of Year 5 and 6 students from local Primary schools. It’s great to have such established artists working in schools, and even if I was too busy to really engage much with the day, it was still ace to be involved even a little.
Oh and then of course there has been all my regular lessons. Year 10 making their digital collage robots based on the Douglas Pledger’s digital illustrations (always a hit), Year 11 doing photos inspired by Cindy Sherman’s ‘Film Stills’ series. The robots are looking superb, with a lot of young people getting into details of burning and dodging sections to add highlights and shadows, spending ages arranging tiny screw heads. The devil is in the detail, and all that. The Sherman inspired photos meanwhile are awesome. Fabulous stuff, and all of it done with digital cameras they have at home, or cameras on phones. It’s great to watch them Bluetooth their work to and from their phones, sharing their work with each other in the same way. Of course if the Tories get in all that will go down the pan, as they plan to ban mobile phones in school. What a bunch of kneejerk reactionary rubbish.
Anyway, now it’s Thursday morning and I am rattling along in a train from Waterloo to Southampton (off to the Apple RTC Managers’ Meeting), high on way too much caffeine and the pleasures of the past few days. The pleasure of last night too, for even given the fact that the blare of a TV playing a soccer match and the roar of a small but vocal (and ultimately dejected) audience made talk rather tricky for much of the evening, I still had a most pleasant time in the Royal George with J and Y.
I’m looking forward to the weekend even more though, when C comes over to meet me in London and we get to visit the newly reopened London Transport Museum. I also really would love to see the portrait photography show at the National Portrait Gallery, and the new shows at Tate Britain and Modern. So much to fit in…