Inspirational Teaching

Back in the olden days when the world was black and white I was taught by the most amazing man - "Sir" was someone whose teaching was inspirational, ahead of his time and who wasn't afraid to try new teaching methods.  I have mentioned him before.

When I wrote yesterday's post I was reminded about my high school English teacher.  A man who stayed sat behind his desk for the majority of the time, slumped.  A man who appeared to be ambivalent about teaching in general and about the majority of the students who passed through his classroom door.  A man who completely and utterly disliked me - or so I felt at the time.  I don't remember a single compliment passing his lips or a mark that merited mentioning.  I failed English Language and English Literature spectacularly because he marked my work so low that it was unsuitable to be sent to the examination board.

Coincidently, when I went to college a few months later and attempted to resit my English GCSE's, the tutor was astounded by the fact that I had failed.  My work was apparently already at A-Level standard and work was sent to the Principal of the college to be noted as of "excellent quality".  I had so many mixed feelings about that.  How could I have improved so much in the space of three months?

Similarly, I recognised earlier this year that Jake's Year 6 teacher spoke with such negativity a lot of the time when chatting about him.  She is a good teacher and well respected within the school but with Jake and  his ADHD, people either "get" him or they don't.  She didn't.  All teacher/parent meetings were about how he should be behaving and performing rather than concentrating on his achievements.  As an aside, he won two trophies when he left primary school - chosen by the staff body as a whole, not just his class teacher.

I knew that high school would be the making of him.  The structure of high school suits his attitude.  Short spells of learning, plenty of variety, different teachers each hour.  There is less time to experience a clash of personalities.  There is also the fact that there are so many activities and clubs to join, especially sports-related ones.  Since September he has joined the football club (but he wasn't too keen on that), the basketball club and he does street dance.  He is representing the school at cross-country running next month and has already been part of a dance display squad at a presentation evening, for which he received a Headteacher Commendation.

I only realised how much this is suiting him when I went to his first Parent's Evening last week.  Every single teacher gave him high praise.  They are all aware of his ADHD and have each found ways to remind Jake when he is getting a little OTT or acting like the class clown.  His grades have shot up and he is heading for mid-to-top streaming after Christmas.

Jake definitely won't suit the return to exam-based study.  He thrives on modular study and progressive recognition.  I know his exams are over four years away but, as a parent, you worry what is being put in place now, don't you?