Saturday, 15 September 2012

Up on the Roof

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss... John/Taupin

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in to stop my mind from wandering... Lennon/McCartney

On the roof, it's peaceful as can be 
And there the world below don't bother me, no, no  King/Goffin

"All right," said Fred, climbing up a ladder
With his crowbar gave a mighty blow... Rudge/Dicks

Devoted followers of this blog (you know who you are) will have noticed a distinct shortage of posts over the last month. Have I been on holiday?  We-ell,sort of. We haven't be away from home just away from the concerns of education. And my return last week felt a little half-hearted, as I've joined the ranks of the semi-retired, you know, those teachers who snap their fingers at Ofsted and say things like "I remember discussing this issue thirty years ago..." or "what goes around comes around...". It must really irritate the wild-eyed children (full-time teachers). I do hope so.

On my first day back (a PD day last Monday) I tried to enter my new classroom by this gate.  I wondered sardonically 'I wonder if I shall have to keep out?  I could go home and find a construction site...'   But it turned out the entrance to my new media suite was in a place where, last time I visited, there was a blank wall.  Now I don't like to gloat, but my new room is lovely, although I do feel I've earned it after working in a plastic box for three and a half years. It's long enough for 25 workstations on two walls. It's light, clean and cheerful and so much space! I have three small studios off the classroom with windows, and a vast expanse of new blue carpet. I've decided to try Stephen Heppell's suggestion of having a shoeless room so we can crawl around making animations, sit on the floor in groups etc. He reckons that it improves behaviour too! We shall see.
I'll be blogging more about what we're up to soon, but I really do want to talk about roofs...

One of the squillions of neglected jobs caused by full-time teaching has been my pantiled roof and I've been up there making repairs: new battens, flashing, barge boards and re-laying broken or slipped tiles. While singing (on separate occasions) all of the songs above, I wondered how it was that  roofs came to be the subject of songs - I don't know nearly so many about drains for example. 
But then I got more philosophical. To an untrained eye, pantiles all look the same. But they aren't. The curves are slightly different and they're different sizes.  Even the machine-made roman tiles I've been working with most recently all have their little idiosyncracies. And, those that are nearly 300 years old, as I suspect some of ours could be, they have lichen and little holes and bits of shell and chips and, yes OK Elton, moss. Some of them sit snugly here but not there. Some of them overlap and underlap their neighbours without a murmur, while others cry piteously and wave their corners in the air until you find exactly the right combination of batten and partners where they'll sit down quietly and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. But with understanding and a little cajoling they can become that archetypal necessity - a roof over your head. Am I guilty of extreme anthropomorphism when I say that they remind me a bit of a class of learners? With understanding and a little cajoling they can become that sociological necessity - a team.

Away from the concerns of education? Oh well, once a teacher...