Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good vibrations

Having lived most of my adult life in a country other than my home country, the internet, e mail and more recently facebook and my blog have become significant means of communication. I do love a good old fashioned letter and a good old fashioned letter with a hand wrapped parcel cannot be beaten, but we all know that the internet has many benefits and advantages; the speed of communication, the ability to shop quickly from a warm and comfortable place, my favourite benefit is that you rarely receive bills via the internet.

Nearly all of my internet communication is, therefore, positive. I recently had a great on line party with a load of friends from my teenage years, we were all reminiscing happily about teenage parties, various episodes of vomiting (yes, I held the umbrella stand) and exploding kegs of home made beer. It was fab and it made me laugh.

I´ve been trying to communicate my joys at moving to Spain via my blog. Of course there are negatives and some of the pitfalls have also been documented, but for me, communication and blogging and e mail are mainly for communicating with others, now that may be about sharing good times, happy times, joys and laughter. It can also be about sharing sadness, we´ve all had our share of tragedy and sometimes tragedy shared can be a way of linking our fears and joys and a way of recognizing that life is for living.

Unfortunately, there are also some very angry and rude people out there who can't seem to find positive ways of expressing their feelings and that is incredibly sad. I can´t help but think that the angry young people are having a bad time but they enjoy the anger to sustain them…I´ve had my share of anger but I think that eventually, we have to move on or it can become a bitterness that clouds our world. We have to try and focus our anger in postive ways, peaceful protests, united movements with shared goals, a desire for positive change instead of destruction and hatred.

I suppose that sometimes I can´t escape from my job, as a teacher it´s important to focus on the positives, use language in an affirmative way, praise, praise, praise and praise…because of course we have to point out to young people that they are making mistakes…sometimes downright silly ones…but that they are also learning and life is about thinking..if we can show young people to focus on their learning in a positive way then they can always try and rectify their mistakes and learn lessons, life lessons as well as Maths and English and History lessons.

At a teaching seminar recently, my husband heard the phrase “there´s no room for sarcasm in the classroom”. This horrified me because of course there´s space for sarcasm in the classroom when it´s used in the right way, it´s a very funny way of communicating information and a great life lesson for students. There´s also space in the classroom for joy, hilarity, laughter, sadness and passion, for craziness and good natured constructive commentary, occasional mockery is also allowed, as are gifts on birthdays, singing, acting and more laughter. Debate is encouraged as is questioning the teacher, thinking most definitely encouraged and having a different opinion to everyone else is also applauded. Flirting is acceptable although, as with swimming pools around the world, heavy petting is discouraged.

Perhaps my life has also been shaped by losses because the deaths of loved ones has made me realize that life is too short for all the bad stuff to interfere with enjoying your life and the people around you and generally sharing the love. A friend recently blogged about a young mother dying suddenly and this reminded me of my own losses but also reminded me that life is short. That makes me feel a positive obligation to eat, drink and be merry! Find and make as much pleasure as I can in the small space I have for the small amount of time that I have without causing pain to others! Try to spread pleasure as much as I can, through people and writing and laughing...maybe I'm influenced by my job but my choice of job was also influenced by the type of person I am and would like to be.

So what do I have space for in the classroom and in my internet world? Well I would prefer my world to be full of joy and positive emotions but that´s not life is it? So I guess I have to accept the sadness and grief too, small doses of anger are ok too because if we´re not angry about stuff then we won´t change things for the better, moral outrage is also ok in my world.

What would I prefer not to include in my world. Well I would prefer to exclude uncontrolled rage, bitterness, rude and disrespectful comments, misogyny, racism and cruelty and deliberate spite. I´m sure there´s more I can´t think of but I´d like the positives to outweigh the negatives! So let's cheer for a funny and supportive and loving world and let's try and make one.

A command to all readers today, go and hug a loved one, give someone a kiss, help a person if you can, smile at a stranger. If you're angry, direct your anger in positive ways and spread the love. Love, love love and more love and more love and more....


  1. Wonderful words Sian.
    I think it's only as we get a bit older (and experience a few of life's knocks and up and downs) that we can really start to shape how we live and what we want our world to be like.
    PS I think I would love to be a pupil in your class...

  2. Thanks Beth, if any of my former students are reading, perhaps you´d like to comment on the Davies classroom!!

  3. Hi Sian
    I know- a sad day when sarcasm is banned from the classroom. I hear this a lot- very often from people who have never seen an episode of Blackadder. As the swimming pool sign indicates -No heavy petting, smoking or bombing in the classroom.


  4. just reading your blog.Tis fab xx

  5. Ah, another trite training course, trotting out platitudes based on no understanding of children and young people whatsoever. Of course, biting sarcasm that has as its goal the destruction of another's sense of self has no place in the classroom, or outside (it's quite scary that anyone should think that teachers need to be told this!!). But well-timed, gentle teasing of a student (or teacher!) is a way of building a sense of shared understanding, a warm and supportive environment where children know that you know them, as individuals, and care enough to go beyond the curriculum and interact as human beings. Humour - of all types - should exist in the classroom above all places. It is the teacher's role to guide the humour not supress it. It heightens the senses, releases tensions, makes the classroom a place students want to be, or at least don't hate! - isn't that miracle enough to justify it?! Of course, the more we focus on 'what' students are (5 C passes for the League tables, bottom set, Oxbridge material etc), rather than 'who' they are, the more we contribute to the eventual atomisation of society and the overwhelming outpouring of impotent anger that we are witnessing everywhere. It all begins with education. It is the pivot point of individual lives and, therefore, of society. And it's so simple, it just requires creativity and compassion. Mankind couldn't have come this far without possessing those attributes yet we seem unable, or unwilling, to recognise how simple is the recipe for success, for the health, happiness and cohesion of society....Of course, now we have Jamie Oliver's recipe for the 'Dream School' the world will be 'pukka' - don't know what I'm worried about! Maybe I'll become a tv chef instead. :-) Annie


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