Tuesday 30 September 2014

Dressing the part

LMS Chairman yesterday makes reference, in a sage article, about a recent episcopal resignation of what happens to teachers if they involve themselves in relationships with pupils.

The law has been tightened and it is now illegal for a teacher to have a relationship with any pupil. That includes sixth formers. It seems that there has been a recognition that the pupil-teacher relationship is always a power relationship and that it is up to the one with the power not to exploit the one without.

Although being checked out for convictions/ cautions etc is a drag every three years, teachers are party to a huge amount of confidential information as well as access to hundreds of children and teenagers, so it is as well to be careful.

I am not allowed to give my mobile number or private email address to pupils. Any email that I write referring to a pupil can be requested by parents under the Data Protection Act.

We have a dress code at work. On Prize Day, I must wear a suit and academic dress. For concerts, I wear black.

When an exceptionally casual parent addresses me by my Christian name in an email, the reply is signed Miss Initial Initial Surname.

All these things create and maintain the correct environment in which pupils can safely learn and I can safely teach.

There are occasions where pupils need to be able to say and do things that place them in a vulnerable position and they need to be confident that they are not going to come to any harm. Their parents have a right to the same level of confidence.

Saturday 27 September 2014

Dominus est

I have been lent copies of Bishop Athanasius Schnieder's two books by a friend.

It's a slim volume, so I am reading it slowly.

It seems that Bishops who have been tested in the fire make for better and truer teachers.

Yesterday I went to the Juventutem Mass in London.

The Celebrant, at the High Mass, was a nearly ordained priest, so the congregation was able to receive a first blessing.

Friday 19 September 2014

Blessed be GAAAAD

Cardinal Burke @ Vespers and Benediction at Brompton Oratory, whenever that was.

Then he swept past in a Cappa Magna on the way to the Altar dedicated to St Philip Neri.


I expect the best of everything.

From human charity, to sacrificial love to beautiful music.


Tuesday 9 September 2014

La Rentrée

Taught everyone now, so no more lessons that start with giving out books. :-)

We have a great app that uploads our timetables and class lists to our iPads. random pupil selector seems to be a hit with the boys, or at least a novelty.

This week our ensembles restart and each year, rather as with sports teams we have to get them to work together and turn them into orchestras, choirs and jazz bands.

Over the summer I did orchestral conducting bootcamp and so am looking forward to using what I learned. It was hard core, but a great week. The other 35 or so participants were all very interesting and there was plenty of camaraderie and funny stories, mixed in with standing on a rostrum and being publicly humiliated each day, by three tutors. And I got to play the horn a lot in the class orchestra, which was 20 of us plus two professional pianists.

Tomorrow I do the first full orchestra rehearsal which is always a bit crazy, trying to get 45 boys sat down ASAP, tuned and playing and I set out the chairs, stands and music in advance. Fortunately, the routine with any orchestra is identical, so once they can do it at school, they can do it anywhere in the world. I do feel I am the equivalent of an infant teacher, passing on those crucial skills like how to hold a pen and form letters. It's just I deal in making sure your bowing matches your section principal. How to follow a conductor, especially if you sit at the back and play something loud. And never playing an open E string unless the conductor explicitly asks for it. Which I don't as a rule. :-)