It’s almost impossible to check in my earlier hostility to Henry Bolinbroke at the door; I take grim satisfaction at the suggestion that he’s ‘shaken’, or ‘wan with care’ as the play opens. [a] He deserves it.
Not that I believe him …
Actually, looking back, I promised to crucify you (Henry) at the end of Richard II … OK, here goes.
To understand Richard, Duke of Gloucester, you must know him.Really know him …
And to know him, I think it’s essential we don’t look at his eponymous play in isolation.Think of it as a season finale. And like Margaret of Anjou, Richard’s character has been developing towards this climax – in my read-through, I’ve likened his journey to that of Anakin Skywalker from ‘freckled whelp’ to Sith Lord …
Today marks the beginning of one of the most eagerly anticipated parts of the school year … the final summer half-term. The countdown’s on, for teachers at least: 7 weeks; 35 working days; a maximum of 28 lessons with each of those classes.
Occasionally, actually quite often if you’re me, you say things in class which get far more of a reaction than you anticipated. One of those moments came recently, when I suggested that an engagement ring was a symbol of ownership, not so different from a brand on a cow, if you thought about it.
‘Silence invaded the room’, as Steinbeck might have said.
The students were either reappraising their world-views, or they were reappraising me. It’s never easy to tell which.
Occasionally, teacher good luck messages and the valedictories get a bit mawkish or twee (and wearing my heart on my sleeve, I’m probably as guilty of this as others). That said, I still want to write one for my Y13s.
If beginnings feel tricky (until you read this, naturally), then signing off an essay can feel just as daunting, and it’s equally important. Faced with the time pressure of writing an additional half paragraph of analysis only to finish mid-
-sentence, or writing a strong conclusion, I know which one I’d choose every time.