Our Y11 (15/16 year old) students have the first of their English Literature GCSE exams on Monday …
This is the last year, at my school, when we will (effectively) have autonomy over the texts we teach. Next year, we will only offer MacbethorRomeo and Juliet at GCSE. It sounds like a retrograde move, but what it does ensure – I suppose – is that we have teachers, multiple, who can deliver the texts, both in the classroom and – importantly, considering I am in school today (Sunday) – in revision sessions. I am largely in school today because I’m the only one who can do The Tempest … nobody’s fault but mine, as Led Zeppelin might say.
Edward V, like Edward II, like Richard II, like Macbeth, maybe even like Richard III, seems to think that the crown’s enough.Whilst there can be only one, physical possession of the golden round really isn’t a given. Everyone else has to believe you’re king – not just you!
They are but Lewis and Warwick; I am Edward,
Your King and Warwick’s and must have my will. (IV.i.15-16)
That’s all very well, but if it that attitude couldn’t save Julius Caesar:
‘I rather tell you what is to be feared / Than what I fear: for always I am Caesar’ (CAESAR, Julius Caesar I.ii.210-211)
– and he was a dozen times the man you are – then your goose is cooked.You have married in haste, and now you’re going to repent at leisure.Frankly, if Richard says so, it’s good enough for me:
Whilst it sounds trite, I’m increasingly beginning to believe this.
Part of this comes from the Pony Tail Shakespeare project, I’m sure. With a gap of 400+ years now between the works and our readings, we’re constantly confronted with attitudes which are at a variance with ours.Example?This month it’s The Taming of the Shrew, with some ‘interesting’ ideas about marriage, domestic violence, and ‘men vs. women’.
Mostly, though, it comes from being a teacher of Shakespeare …
For someone who almost famously doesn’t watch TV, I’m a remarkably big fan of the BBC. What I DO spend is an awful lot of time listening to the radio – for news, sport, and entertainment. I’m always dazzled by the quality of the drama they produce, and I really enjoy their Science Fiction adaptations – another obssession of mine.
But, it’s also an absolute treasure trove of radio programming about Shakespeare … both factual stuff and performances.