‘Remains’ by Simon Armitage – A Guide (AQA Power & Conflict poetry)

Before I begin with my interpretation of the poem ‘Remains’, a quick word on how I approach my own analysis and teaching of a poem. Generally, I like to go into it unseen and usually like my pupils to do the same. When I first started teaching poetry, I used to read the revision guides, study the websites, have a nosy on youtube and scrutinise the poet’s biographical details. These days, unless I find a poem particularly obscure or complex, or feel that it is essential that pupils know the context in advance, I prefer to discover a poem for myself and get my students to do the same. I’m the same with film or book reviews: why would I want to read someone else’s opinion of a movie or a novel before actually seeing it for myself? For me, I’d be going into the experience with someone else’s viewpoint embedded in my brain and I personally find that an unwelcome distraction. I invariably go back and read the reviews after I’ve watched or read it, to see if I was missing something. I mostly expect the same with my pupils and poetry analysis: only after they’ve given me their first impressions do I start to fill in the gaps. This also, obviously, helps develop skills for the unseen section. So this guide is my take; I haven’t read BBC Bitesize or watched the Armitage documentary on youtube. I will in good time but for now this is my take on this accessible, impressive and affecting poem…

Summary

Briefly, the poem is told from the point of view of a soldier in an unnamed conflict, which given the references to ‘looters’ and the ‘sun-stunned, sand-smothered land’ I presume is Iraq. The soldier and his colleagues shoot dead one of these looters; the speaker is left to reflect on the decision he has taken and deal with the psychological consequences of this action upon his return to civilian life.

The title

‘Remains’ is ambiguous and ironic – literally referring to the corpse of the dead looter but also reflecting the persistent memories of the victim that haunt Armitage’s military persona. The image of the man’s body – the noun ‘remains’ – are forever juxtaposed in his mind with the insidious and pervasive image that continues -the verb ‘remains’ – to stay with him.

Self-defence versus murder

The crux of the poem comes early in the speaker’s uncertain testimony that the looter was ‘probably armed, possibly not’. The syntactical positioning of the pair of adverbs is instructive: the soldier assumes the worst, with ‘probably’ suggesting a high likelihood of danger and seemingly justifying the decision to open fire. Yet the second adverb ‘possibly’ implies there was a chance that the looter was unarmed, making the course of action a war crime. Given that the previous line ‘legs it up the road’ – with the idiom ‘legs it’ denoting an escape and implying that the looter was running away – the reader  is more likely to view this as a callous act, involving shooting the looter in the back. Armitage’s use of diacopic repetition later in the poem, but this time in a dream-fuelled flashback (‘Sleep, and he’s probably armed, possibly not’) indicates the recurring replaying of this fateful moment in the speaker’s mind.

Collective responsibility?

The polysyndeton of ‘Well myself and somebody else and somebody else’ evokes a chain reaction of involvement. All three are ‘of the same mind’, suggesting a sense of agreement in the moral correctness of their actions, or perhaps rather a psychological conditioning (brainwashing some might say) that encourages soldiers to think the same and act the same, linking nicely with ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ and ‘Theirs is not to reason why…’. While the anonymous indefinite pronoun ‘somebody’ conveys the code of honour and silence among comrades, and appears to evade culpability, the positioning of the first person reflexive pronoun clearly represents an admission of involvement – indeed primary involvement as the first to fire – of the speaker. The fact that they were ‘letting fly’ certainly suggests a reckless abandon rather than precise targeting.

The body

At this stage the poet adopts grotesque imagery to emphasise the physical mangling of the body and the indifference shown to the victim at the moment of death. ‘One of my mates …tosses his guts back into his body’ is deeply disrespectful towards the corpse, with the dynamic verb ‘tosses’ highlighting a careless, inhumane attitude towards human life. The plosive of ‘back’ and ‘body’ amplifies the visceral image of the sloppy innards being casually thrown back into this shattered shell of a body. The indignity is further reinforced by the mode of transportation for this hapless criminal: ‘carted off in the back of a lorry’. The choice of a vehicle known mainly for distribution, as opposed to an ambulance or a hearse, displays the objectification of the cadaver – discarded like a broken and unwanted item.

The volta

Now the location changes but the action doesn’t. Armitage sends the soldier home on leave but condemns him to a perpetual reimagining of the scene:’I’m home on leave. But I blink/ and he bursts again through the doors of the bank.’ The caesura suggests a clean break but the enjambment swiftly reasserts the invasive memory of the victim. The narrative shifts from anecdotal to confessional and we witness the mental deterioration of the persona.

PTSD 

The American Psychological Association defines post-traumatic stress disorder as ‘an anxiety problem that develops in some people after extremely traumatic events, such as combat, crime, an accident or natural disaster.’ They go on to explain that ‘people with PTSD may relive the event via intrusive memories, flashbacks and nightmares…’ It is pretty clear by now that the guilt caused by taking a life in combat (especially an innocent one in a gruesome manner) and the trauma is provokes is the central theme of the poem. Specifically, the theme of intrusion is key: the murdered looter is now metaphorically ‘dug in behind enemy lines’, a phrase of profound irony as the speaker was initially the one stationed deep in opposition territory, and significantly as the ‘enemy’in this instance is the soldier’s own brain. The verb phrase ‘dug in’ emphasises the intrusive, relentless nature of these revenge attacks on his conscience.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists notes the symptoms of the condition includes an hypervigilance that means sufferers are unable to switch off. Other symptoms include the futile abuse and misuse of drugs and alcohol, evident in the line ‘And the drink and drugs won’t flush him out’. The idiom ‘flush him out’ works on several levels: firstly, suggesting the disposal of undesired waste products, which links with the disposal of the looters body; secondly, illustrating the original intention of bringing enemy ‘combatants’ out into the open; and thirdly, getting a toxic product – in this instance the intrusive memories – out of the system before it causes long-term damage. Interestingly, the RCP also spell out the situations that will heighten the effects of PTSD: the involvement of mutilation -the physically ‘torn apart’ victim ultimately reflecting the eventual mental anguish of the perpetrator – being a key indicator of severe long-term trauma.

The use of cliche

Many of the colloquial metaphors that Armitage employs are cliched:

  • ‘legs it’
  • ‘letting fly’
  • ‘broad daylight’
  • ‘carted off…’
  • ‘end of story’
  • ‘near to the knuckle’

The use and subversion of cliched expression is a common feature of Armitage’s oeuvre; a Armitagean trope if you will. In ‘Remains’ it could perhaps convey a lack of education. After all, the average reading age of 40% of British Army recruits was recently found to be 11. I favour another explanation. Use of cliche reflects a lack of original thought, linking back to the unity of decision making at the start of the incident. Cliches are phrase that are worn out through repetition, highlighting the continual destruction and loss of life witnessed in warfare and the repetitive intrusive memories of the soldier.

So that’s my take on the poem. I suppose I’ll have to have a look around now and see what everybody else makes of it.

Thanks for reading,

Mark

 

 

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“Super, smashing, great” – modelling the language of evaluation: superlatives (part 2)

Those of you of a certain age will remember – fondly or otherwise – the 1980s ITV game show Bullseye. It was a Sunday evening staple in my grandma’s house, a winning combination (for an 8-year-old anyway) of darts, or rather ‘arrers’ in Yorkshire, not-too-taxing general knowledge questions, glamorous prizes, such as Breville toastie makers, and its affable, diminutive host Jim Bowen.

jim-bowen

Dour and deadpan, Jim became best known for his anodyne catchphrases: the rhyming couplet’stay out of the black and in to the red, there’s nothing in this game for two in a bed’, the pleading imperative ‘listen to Tony’. and most famously of all, the random asyndetic list of superlatives, dished out in either congratulation or commiseration – ‘super, smashing, great…’.

Last time, I looked at grammatical superlatives and how they can be a very useful tool for language analysis. This time, I’m looking at the other meaning of the term: a general adjective used in praise to recognise something of the highest quality.

In theory, superlatives should only be encountered, therefore, when assessing acts of excellence. A supreme moment of sporting skill, a pop single of majestic beauty, a novel of breathtaking scope. The problem is that superlatives have become overused in modern discourse to such an  extent that they are slowly becoming worthless, or in certain cases have keeled over and died, thrashed to death my merciless wielders of hyberbole. The moribund superlative has become the stuff that cliches are made on. Let’s look at these examples:

  • brilliant – used to mean ‘dazzling, shining’ but now means really good.
  • wonderful – used to denote ‘inspiring a sense of delight and imagination’ whereas it now merely suggests something was very nice.
  • incredible – previously an ambiguous word literally meaning ‘hard to believe’ which has now lost its use and has become synonymous with quite surprising.
  • great – the most overused and downgraded adjective of all, once meant ‘exceptional or highly significant’ but now means… well, anything you want, from decent to good to slightly above acceptable.

I’m a big fan of Sky Sports’ football results extravaganza Soccer Saturday. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s basically four inarticulate and overexcitable ex-pros getting overexcited about a football match they’re watching on telly that you can’t see. It sounds awful but it’s highly compulsive. The anchor, Jeff Stelling, holds things together with his eloquent bursts of statistical know how, interspersed with knowingly dreadful puns. Recently though, I’ve started to lose interest; my affection is beginning to wane. The main reason? The excessive use of the superlative ‘great’. A pass that is a bit better than normal is ‘great’; a goalkeeper doing his job and keeping standard shots out the net is having a ‘great’ game; a team that wins three matches in a row are on a ‘great’ run etc. etc. etc.

How does this relate to teaching English. Well, obviously, we want to prevent our pupils from falling into the trap of reaching for the hackneyed superlative and encourage them to seek out more interesting and meaningful adjectives of praise in their own writing – specifically in the GCSE evaluation question:

  • ‘Capote’s consummate use of spatial shifts at the start of In Cold Blood contributes to…’
  • ‘Steinbeck’s flawless use of zoomorphic imagery cleverly depicts Curley’s animalistic aggression…’

This is all well and good, but what else can we do to model an avoidance of tired superlatives. If we’re being honest, we can make sure we stamp them out as much as possible in our own teacher talk and written feedback:

  • ‘That was a brilliant answer’ could become ‘that was a really nuanced answer’
  • ‘A wonderful piece of analysis’ might become ‘your understanding of different types of repetition is faultless’
  • ‘Great answer, John’ might become ‘The first part of your answer was excellent, John, but to make your answer first-rate you need to reconsider your understanding of…’

Thanks for reading, you’re all my wonderful,

Mark

 

I am the greatest blogger – the superlative (part 1)

What’s the point of getting pupils to learn word classes? It’s the biggest waste of time, especially as the exam board have said – and I was at a recent training session – that just writing ‘the word “suddenly” suggests…’ rather than messing about with ‘the adverb “suddenly suggests…’ will suffice.

Anybody who has followed this blog for any length of time will know that I disagree strongly with the paragraph above. For some time now, my argument has been that technical terminology isn’t fancy frippery, designed purely to impress the examiner. Instead, it allows, I contend, a deeper insight into the writer’s craft, particularly when considering the effect of word choices. And let’s be honest, a large part of our time as English teachers is spent on just that. Let’s take a look at three possible pupil analyses of the opening to my second sentence as an example:

  1. The writer uses the word ‘biggest’ to show how important he feels this pointless exercise is. By using ‘biggest’ he implies that there is nothing more significant in taking up time than word class.
  2.  The writer uses the adjective ‘biggest’ to describe how important he feels this pointless exercise is. By using ‘biggest’ he implies that there is nothing more significant in taking up time than word class.
  3. The writer uses the superlative ‘biggest’ to emphasise the importance of the pointless exercise. Superlatives are used to show extremes, the highest degree of a quality, so by using ‘biggest’ he implies that no other area of knowledge could have such significance in taking up time than word class.

Through understanding what a superlative does, what its grammatical function is, a pupil gains an added insight into the intended effect of the writer’s diction. They might intuitively grasp that ‘fattest’, ‘tallest’, ‘grimmest’, ‘worst’ are highest or lowest example of a quality, but an awareness of the purpose of superlatives makes that kind of clear explanation far more likely.

An example of how this might be taught, can be seen in the following link, with slides from a Year 9 Of Mice and Men scheme I made:

loneliest

This most famous of quotes hopefully takes on a new lease of life (especially when combined with historical context) when seen through the lens of the function of a superlative. Interestingly, pupils usually pick up on the lonelier/more lonely comparative option and want to know why you can choose. This naturally helps with their own creative writing and helps avoid erroneous words like ‘unpleasantest’. I usually give them an explanation from David Crystal’s Rediscover Grammar (amusingly titled for me as my teachers mostly failed to allow me to discover it in the first place):

superlatives.jpg

When it comes to the GCSE English language evaluation question (such as AQA Paper 1 Q4), an appreciation of the role of the superlative can really enhance a pupil’s ability to weigh up what a writer was trying to do and whether it’s been effective. Try this out with the opening paragraphs to The Good Soldier (which Ford Maddox Ford originally intended calling The Saddest Story) or A Tale of Two Cities and get pupils to think about the importance of the superlatives used:

The Good Soldier

This is the saddest story I have ever heard. We had known the Ashburnhams for nine seasons of the town of Nauheim with an extreme intimacy–or, rather with an acquaintanceship as loose and easy and yet as close as a good glove’s with your hand. My wife and I knew Captain and Mrs Ashburnham as well as it was possible to know anybody, and yet, in another sense, we knew nothing at all about them. This is, I believe, a state of things only possible with English people of whom, till today, when I sit down to puzzle out what I know of this sad affair, I knew nothing whatever. Six months ago I had never been to England, and, certainly, I had never sounded the depths of an English heart. I had known the shallows.

A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Yet the superlative also crops up frequently – and usually quite early in the extracts – on the non-fiction paper (Paper 2 on AQA). Non-fiction articles obviously deal often with factual information (‘Everest: The world’s highest and deadliest mountain’) and this allows pupils an easy way in to potentially dry pieces of text lacking in figurative language. But the real beauty of spending time thinking about superlatives is the benefit of noticing the hyberbolic nature of opinionated phraseology: the subjective superlative if you will. The worst film I have ever seen. Quite the rudest man in all of Christendom. The biggest liar in school. The most disgusting thing I have yet to have had the misfortune to digest.

We recently did a practice paper on a non-fiction extract ‘The Boat to America’ by Dickens from 1842, which had a few juicy superlatives that my pupils thankfully picked up on and made good use of in their analysis:

We all dined together that day; and a rather formidable party we were: no fewer than eighty-six strong. The vessel being pretty deep in the water, with all her coals on board and so many passengers, and the weather being calm and quiet, there was but little motion; so that before the dinner was half over, even those passengers who were most distrustful of themselves plucked up amazingly; and those who in the morning had returned to the universal question, ‘Are you a good sailor?’ answered boldly ‘Yes’ and with some irritation too, as though they would add, ‘I should like to know what you see in ME, sir, particularly, to justify suspicion!’

Notwithstanding this high tone of courage and confidence, I could not but observe that very few remained long over their wine; and that everybody had an unusual love of the open air; and that the favourite and most wanted seats were invariably those nearest to the door. The tea-table, too, was by no means as well attended as the dinner-table; and there was less card-playing than might have been expected.

So there you go, the greatest bit of grammar teaching ever witnessed. Not quite. But very useful stuff nonetheless and worth the time it takes to drill pupils on more specific word classes. A word of caution though: as you’ll know, but your pupils probably won’t, separated from the grammatical meaning, superlative means something different as an adjective in its own right. I’ll be talking about that amazing, brilliant and outstanding word in my next wonderful installment.

Thanks for reading,

Mark

Perspective: Teach second? Teach for life?

I’m not a big believer in perspective. Not the artistic technique, obviously. I do accept that it is possible to make things look realistic and have depth on paper. No, I mean the proverbial ‘perspective’, as in: ‘now that puts things into perspective’. This is usually uttered around the time of a mass disaster, act of terrorism, tragic death of a celebrity, abduction of a poor child. It’s meant to signify that one’s own problems are insignificant in comparison to the scale of misfortune and suffering that we encounter at times to help us… well…put things into perspective. My opinion is that any shift of viewpoint is short-lived: our reality dose software update soon reverts to a factory setting refocus on our own personal strife and woes. Maybe it’s just me.

Where I do believe in perspective, though, is when it intrudes into the personal sphere. If bad or unpleasant stuff happens to my family – or, let’s be honest, specifically to me – then I’m far more likely to adjust my Weltanschauung for more than a few days. We’re far more likely, it would seem, to set up a campaign group or donate money to a charity if it involves a cause that has directly affected us. I accept that some people are naturally more altruistic than others (my wife is nicer than me, for example) but I think the general point still holds.

What’s any of this got to do with teaching then, eh? Well, there’s been a few fascinating discussions flying around eduTwitter recently about whether a) people who come into teaching later in life make better teachers (presumably after doing other jobs, rather than a life on the dole, but you never know) and whether b) teaching is a sustainable lifelong career these days.

Having come into teaching in my late twenties, I have views. My views are: firstly, I have known, and continue to know, some exceptional career teachers, who have been teaching kids good stuff since they left teaching college (or wherever). They’ll generally tell me that, like a stinky bit of blue cheese, they have got better with age but, to me, they seem made for the role. Usually, but not always, they have a parent who teaches or taught. Secondly, I think it is often advantageous to have come into teaching late – “Teach Second” as Ms Keenan put it nicely on Twitter today. This hunch is purely anecdotal of course. Having discussed the topic often with fellow Teach Seconders they regularly tell me that they a) feel more mature and balanced as an older practitioner and b) having had another job (or jobs) helps them to put teaching…into perspective.

I agree on both counts. I’m not saying that I’m better than other teachers because of what I’m going to euphemistically term my ‘life experience’ BT (Before Teaching). But I am definitely saying that I’m a better teacher than I would have been as a fresh-breathed 21-year-old. Not that I’d got my degree by then, so that’s kind of irrelevant. The reasons why? Immaturity. Poor work ethic. Issues with authority. Behaviour that may fall short of the teaching standards (or any other standards for that matter). Undeveloped communication skills. Lack of motivation.

So instead – I say this but my 16-year-old self would have laughed in your face if asked if I fancied teaching as a career – I did the following full-time jobs first:

  • factory picker
  • spray painter
  • electrical fitter
  • telesales
  • barman
  • dole office admin
  • filing clerk
  • civil servant
  • hospital complaints officer
  • chef
  • barman (again)
  • journalist

What motivates me to teach isn’t the money (ha); what motivates me is the belief that education can change lives. Trite but true. Which explains my decision to re-train as a teacher. But one thing that definitely motivates me to work as a teacher is not working as a spray painter. Or not working in a call centre. And certainly not working in a dole office, watching, from across the counter, lads you used to go to school with passing out mid signing on as the heroin hit kicks in.

Junkies aside, what was so bad about some of these jobs? After all, perspective should have taught me that at least I had a steady job. As I’ve said, I ignored perspective’s nagging voice and felt sorry for myself. Why? Because, without wishing to sound too much like Adrian Mole, it’s bloody difficult being clever in a job that requires little intellect. At school I kept my mouth shut and learned not to answer questions to which I knew the answers. I disrupted lessons. I fought. Later, in the factory canteen I kept my mouth shut as others talked ignorantly about topics I knew quite a bit about. Eventually, in one office staff room, I finished a crossword in seconds that had the others stumped. Don’t be impressed: it was the Daily Star Quick Quizword. My nickname from then on? Wordsworth. (I’ve yet to find any biographical detail on the Cockermouth bard’s crossword habits.) It was time to move on; I could keep my Smart Alec gob shut no longer.

The beauty of teaching – unlike spray painting – is that it is never boring. Tiring, stressful, relentless, unnecessarily bureaucratic, overly politicised etc etc etc. Yet, significantly, it allows you to have stimulating (or semi-stimulating) conversations each day. Personally, I tend not to feel the grind. Yes, of course there are days. Those days that we all have, where we trudge back to the car park questioning our sanity and pondering the wisdom of dealing with large groups of teenagers or young children. Still, I find these days (or weeks occasionally) are nothing in comparison to the spirit crushing anomie I felt when I worked as a filing temp and was asked if I knew how to file stuff alphabetically. The guy before me hadn’t. So I feel very lucky to teach. And I remind myself of this whenever things get a bit shitty. I’ve felt like this for over a decade. The job’s got harder, I’ve taken on more responsibility – though significantly I still teach a fair whack – and  still I feel lucky, punk. Will it always be like this? Is it a feasible lifelong occupation? Can I imagine myself at 65, rattling on once more about A.C.Bradley’s view of the Shakespearean tragic hero? I think yes. And the reason I think this can be found in perspective. Personal, selfish perspective, of course, not the general ‘other people have it worse variety’.

I was reminded of this the other evening as I re-read Orwell’s seminal, incendiary piece of non-fiction The Road to Wigan Pier. I first read it back in my early twenties. Now, looking back, I started to truly appreciate the hardships described, specifically thinking about the job my grandfather did all his life: mining:

It is impossible to watch the ’fillers’ at work without feeling a pang of envy for their toughness. It is a dreadful job that they do, an almost superhuman job by the standard of an ordinary person. For they are not only shifting monstrous quantities of coal, they are also doing, it in a position that doubles or trebles the work. They have got to remain kneeling all the while–they could hardly rise from their knees without hitting the ceiling–and you can easily see by trying it what a tremendous effort this means. Shovelling is comparatively easy when you are standing up, because you can use your knee and thigh to drive the shovel along; kneeling down, the whole of the strain is thrown upon your arm and belly muscles. And the other conditions do not exactly make things easier. There is the heat–it varies, but in some mines it is suffocating–and the coal dust that stuffs up your throat and nostrils and collects along your eyelids, and the unending rattle of the conveyor belt, which in that confined space is rather like the rattle of a machine gun. But the fillers look and work as though they were made of iron. They really do look like iron hammered iron statues–under the smooth coat of coal dust which clings to them from head to foot. It is only when you see miners down the mine and naked that you realize what splendid men, they are. Most of them are small (big men are at a disadvantage in that job) but nearly all of them have the most noble bodies; wide shoulders tapering to slender supple waists, and small pronounced buttocks and sinewy thighs, with not an ounce of waste flesh anywhere. In the hotter mines they wear only a pair of thin drawers, clogs and knee-pads; in the hottest mines of all, only the clogs and knee-pads. You can hardly tell by the look of them whether they are young or old. They may be any age up to sixty or even sixty-five, but when they are black and naked they all look alike. No one could do their work who had not a young man’s body, and a figure fit for a guardsman at that, just a few pounds of extra flesh on the waist-line, and the constant bending would be impossible. You can never forget that spectacle once you have seen it–the line of bowed, kneeling figures, sooty black all over, driving their, huge shovels under the coal with stupendous force and speed. They are on the job for seven and a half hours, theoretically without a break, for there is no time ’off’. Actually they, snatch a quarter of an hour or so at some time during the shift to eat the food they have brought with them, usually a hunk of bread and dripping and a bottle of cold tea.

My grandfather was a very intelligent man but was forced by family poverty to leave school at fourteen to enter the mines. Born a generation earlier, I may well have followed in his weary, begrimed footsteps. Like me, he believed in the transformational power of knowledge. When he finally finished down the pit he spent his redundancy money (£3000 for 50 odd years of backbreaking toil) on a cruise. He won the ship’s quiz night. There was a sense of shock among the other thousand or so  entrants when he responded to the compere’s question about what job he did.

He would be incredibly proud of me entering a ‘profession’ – especially one that gave young people the opportunity to accrue the knowledge  he was forced to accrue himself from the local public library. Whether they always appreciated my efforts to teach them would not seem that relevant to him.  He died as a result of his industry: pneumoconiosis, caused by decades of breathing in coal dust, got him in the end. His brother James, my great uncle, had been killed in an accident, in the darkness, half a mile underground, on his 26th birthday. Family folklore says that his mother had had a premonition and begged him not to go to work that day. Knowing the dangers of mining and knowing that each day at work could be your last takes its toll on a man. While teaching is a tough, noble profession, for me it lacks that sense of fear, and physical and psychological destruction. I’ve read, with great sympathy, some upsetting accounts of mental burnout caused by the demands of teaching. But placed next to my personal escape from the drudgery of manual labour or office based tedium I feel fortunate to be enveloped by the madness and chaos that often characterises the modern world of education.

So I’ll carry on teaching, thank you. I’ll whinge every now and then. I’ll grumble to my wife when my lessons bomb. I’ll swear at the telly when the latest government educational policy disaster is announced or blindly defended. I’ll resent the pile of mock papers. But I’ll keep on doing what I’m fortunate to be able to do.

Thanks for reading,

Mark