Field Trip*

Didn’t we have a lovely time
The day we went to Brighton,
Catching a bus with the maximum fuss;
The heckler, the banter, the shouter, the ranter,
The organisational challenges
Of marshalling a hoard of teenagers
Hell-bent on a voyage of self-distraction,
Remarks abounding with no retraction,
Comments on everything under the sun
Avoiding the work that’s supposed to be done:
A state with which I can empathise
And frankly, comes as no surprise,
Contending expressions of teacher intention
And most elementary behavioural conventions
Although, in truth, not without good grace.
It’s hard to focus when you’ve lost your place,
The chaos of adolescent perspective
Challenging the urge for adult invective.
I feel for the grown-ups, believe me -I do!
I’ve been in that situation too
But maybe things were different then,
Or simply women are better than men(!)
At using clear and present instruction
To avoid the risk of relentless disruption…
A little focus plainly required
For students to have ownership,
Feel inspired…
Relate to a purpose befitting their present,
Not so abstract as to make them resent
Learning imposed by some top-down regime
Of politically absurd, reductionist schemes,
The falsehood that thinkin linear progression
Not really the best way to structure lessons.
The notion that interests adults share
Should automatically make kids care
Just slightly misguided in the scheme of development,
The simplest way to cede resentment.
If only we could empathise,
Could see the world through bewildered eyes
Acknowledge the distortions we so easily bring
By asserting our meaning
On just about everything…

 

 

*A day out at the beach with Y8, for which read ‘observational experience of coastal features’…

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