Let Them Eat Cake*

Cake in the staff room,
The sit, chat and laugh room,
Sat on the pastiche eighties chairs
Reflecting on the day’s affairs:
Coffee and banter
(The occasional ranter!)
Holding a mirror
To our collective endeavour:
A space for debriefing,
Reflection and reprieving,
What to do next time
And when to walk away.
Students improving
(A few need removing!)
And others whose struggle
Would move you to tears:
The sheer, relentless determination
To find their unique point of orientation,
Nailing the crampon and testing the rope…
Before deciding, ‘Yes, I can cope.
‘It’s risk but one I’m prepared to take
-Will you be there to help if I make a mistake…?’
Who among us would gamely return
To the institutions where we once learned
Recalling the rules, expectations and drama
Alongside a tacit absence of karma..?
There’s cause to believe things are different these days,
The outcome of meddling government ways
A business only history will judge
-God knows the politicians won’t budge.
I am on the kids’ side*: no doubt about that.
Target-led learning a load of old hat.
Unimpeded linearity
Overriding contextual clarity.
Vygotsky trumps Skinner
(The latter not a winner,
But rather overlooked
In the average training book,
Tacitly ignoring the ’cause-effect’ connection
Generated unwittingly, so resistant to correction…
So, what do you know of the ‘teaching assistants’
Over and above their daily persistence
To Boldly Go where teachers cannot
Reconnecting with that which the students forgot;
Peeling apart the mired objectives
And paying no heed to the mumbled invective,
Panning for simplicity amid wanton verbosity
Picking out the gems from unintended pomposity
Mindful that to teach is an art in itself
Reframing top-drawer for the bottoms shelf.


*-For colleagues in this role, present an past. Creative, empathic, diligent, gracious and deserving: not a Marie Antoinette among them…!








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