Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly

Good golly Miss Molly and boats

Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet

Jump back in the alley and nanny goats

Ian Dury and the Blockheads – Reasons to be cheerful Part 3

I have been asked to talk about the State of Education at #BrewEdBristol on the 9th Feb. I’ve been thinking about what to say quite a lot. I could easily do a depressive hour bemoaning the terrible mess we seem to be in – cuts, workload stress, our fragmented system, massive divisions amongst educators around practice, SEND provision, inclusion… Oh, I could go on and on.

Last week, whilst thinking, I listened to the Ian Dury and the Blockheads song – Reasons to be Cheerful – Part 3 in which Mr Dury lists all the things that make him happy. Now, for Ian this is mostly drugs, sex, rock and roll and nanny goats… but it got me thinking – What ARE the reasons to be cheerful in education? What if I twisted the narrative and looked at the things I may be taking for granted. So, on Wednesday just before a governors meeting I tweeted:

screenshot (13)

It got a fantastic response and has helped me compile a list for my #BrewEd talk. I don’t want to give too much away yet but felt like exploring some areas. There were many obvious ones on there – the children, colleagues etc – but some really got me thinking… especially twitters role in how the profession has developed. There are a few Twitter related ones on my list – some controversial. It makes me think about a scene in The Life of Brian:

Brian: Look, you’ve got it all wrong! You don’t NEED to follow ME, You don’t NEED to follow ANYBODY! You’ve got to think for your selves! You’re ALL individuals!

Crowd: Yes! We’re all individuals!

Brian: You’re all different!

Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!

Man in crowd: I’m not…

I think when it comes to how I feel about education and especially twitter I want to be that man in the crowd. I want to be able to step back and reflect without white noise clouding my judgements. As long as I have been in education there has always been this addiction to following prevalent or dominant tendencies. I have fallen for it time and time again. I have added to the ‘Education is Doomed’ soundbite because I have been unable to flip the way I see things.

I taught this week – for about 30 minutes – and loved every second. I realised as a head teacher I miss that part in my role. Those teaching interactions… The teacher left me and just assumed I knew how to teach the Mathematics on the board. I didn’t. I had to think quickly and got the children to explain the way the method was worked out. When I last taught we did it differently – the method we used now was genius and once I’d picked it up we were off! I felt real joy in those few moments. I recently read a great blog by an Ex Head teacher colleague from Bristol about why he went back to teaching (

I understood exactly what he meant this week. This week, that little tweet had made me realise what a gift teaching is. What a blessing it is to work with children and young people.

Reasons to be Cheerful? 1 2 3…