Beauty and ugliness in Jekyll and Hyde

Reading Time: 7 minutes If it is a book of anything, Jekyll and Hyde is a book of appearance versus reality, and one of Stevenson’s key methods is to explore beauty, ugliness, and the Victorian belief that the soul is reflected on the outside. This isn’t just a Victorian belief, either: think of the sheer volume of characters whose inner beauty is reflected in their golden shiny hair, fit bodies, muscular physiques or tall statures. And think of the villains – often deformed or disabled, physically twisted to match their inner state. Think Shakespeare’s Richard III’s (fictional) hunchback, Chaucer’s pilgrims’ noses and chins. It’s …

Dressing for my own identity

Reading Time: 5 minutes Clothes are so important, aren’t they? With teachers returning to schools this week, my Twitter timeline has been full of teachers with their ‘back to school wardrobes’. There’s a lot of the Harkel rainbow pencil skirts, the Popsy maths dresses and the Popsy crayon dress, among others. Clothes make us feel comfortable, or safe, or more professional. Everyone has their own quirks and preferences. An outfit that makes us feel powerful. Most men also can’t fathom the glee that comes from discovering your dress actually has pockets!!

Why are predicted grades so hard to give, and can we change it?

Reading Time: 13 minutes It’s been a difficult old year when it comes to predictions (and so many things, but let’s stay focused!). I’m not going to specifically explore my own statistics here – it isn’t fair to any individuals involved – but I’m interested in the reasons that predictions are often so inaccurate when compared with exam results. This year in particular, it’s especially important: today’s announement that Scotland have regraded everyone in line with centre assessment may or may not affect Thursday, but we should consider this for our own good in the future. Predictions are important. With them, we know who …

Poetry writing: A walk-through lesson

Reading Time: 7 minutes In the lesson before this, I’d read On the Sidewalk Bleeding with my Year 8 class, as part of a narrative/short-story unit (some EXCELLENT black lives matters and identity conversation came from it too). The standard has been a couple of analytical lessons followed by creative writing. It’s been an AGE since I taught poetry, and I’ve recently read @funkypedagogy‘s book which reminded me of how much I enjoy it – and I was heartened to see her methods basically mirrored my own. (Always lovely when someone you respect can reaffirm you’re doing the right thing!) Some of the below …

Performing the good girl

Reading Time: 6 minutes Chris Curtis’s latest blogpost – https://learningfrommymistakesenglish.blogspot.com/ – chimes with some things I’ve been writing / thinking about for a while now, about the ways that girls adopt different personas depending, in large part, on the expectations they experience in different places. I’ve had conversations at parents’ evenings that reveal the dilemma he describes, that “The home persona will say something and challenge things when the school persona will not, because they are worried they’ll get told off. Life for them is the battle between these two versions of themselves.” Working at a girls’ school for a decade, I’ve had lots of …