Bringing A Page From My Life into classrooms
On first reading the book title: A Page From My Life: A Selection of Stories From Ray D’Archy Show Listeners, it reminded me of the the following prompt that went viral a year or so ago. A teacher simply asked her students to finish the prompt: “I wish my teacher knew,” and then posted the student’s responses on social media. Children disclosed family struggles, personal interests, hopes and aspirations. A Page From My Life: A Selection of Stories From Ray D’Archy Show Listeners reminded me of the hidden secrets that students and teachers carry within them. Indeed, if this prompt was given to teachers rather than students, what would we say to each other? What would a page of a teacher's life sound like? This might be an interesting perspective as we move to decolonise the curriculum to ensure a greater range of voices are heard. When education is dominated my middle class voices, how can working class ones be heard?
As part of my recording process, I noted some snippets of language and left markings I can revisit when preparing more formal texts. For example, as I begin to think about my presentation for the Geographical Association conference in 2022, I began to wonder how best to encourage participants to offer autobiographical snapshots of themselves. I noted examples of metaphors and similes in their respective notebooks and selected the most arresting verbs and documented those. Clot is a one that stood out for me: seabirds clot the sky, wheeling and screeching through the air, back and forth from their precipitous nests. I loved the Irish use of English: Holy-head; A Wee Problem; as well as reminders of the everyday in The Aldi Excursion. It is often the most ordinary experiences that are the most powerful, yet the mundane is often dismissed to the point of irrelevancy. All lived experiences are valid and this book reminded me of the need capture and centre them in my teaching practice.