This review is being written due to popular demand, by the people I share these four walls with. Having just discovered that I run this blog, they started asking me an extremely long list of questions about my personal life and the way I run things here. As a result of this, I’d like to give a quick shout-out to Hannah, Alice, Kathleen, Charlotte, Jack, Aiden, Ted and Brody. Thanks guys!
English. The language I speak and write in. The language you are currently reading. Do we take it for granted? Maybe. Do we take our English lessons for granted? Again, maybe. Well, since I don’t know the answer to that question, I’m going to review MY A Level English experiences. Hold on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
September 2010. I started out with Will. He was great. I learnt a lot from him and to be honest, he was quite possibly, the best English teacher I had ever had, up to that point. Then he left for reasons that, to my knowledge, were not fully explained. Ah well…
Next came Linda, the suspected alcoholic who we apparently gave a mental breakdown. Nice one!
To replace her, we had Brian. He’s a complete and utter nutter, but he teaches us stuff, albeit at a reduced pace, with loads of side tracking and backing tracks from the, I quote, ‘radio in his head’. Neato!
By the end of year one, we’re were on our 3rd teacher, with hardly any knowledge of what the hell was going on. he coped, as we always do and as such, didn’t do too badly with the work.
Now we’re on year two. We started with Georgina. very new to teaching A Levels, but she seemed capable and I learnt quite a bit from her. She had to leave because of wage/time/children complications.
Kate replaced her and she taught us all about Shakespeare and made Hamlet EXTREMELY boring. Nice work Kate! She had to leave for reasons that I feel it would be unsuitable for me to mention.
Now we’ve got Brian again, or rather, we would, had he not gone on holiday for three weeks. He’ll be back in two. At the moment, as his replacement, we have Carol. How can I describe Carol without incurring the wrath of her or her students? She gives me the hibbie-jibbies, as she knows. I suppose that means that if she was concerned about that, she’d stop being so… Scary…
So. My teaching, as has the teaching of those in my group, been disrupted. That hasn’t, however, prevented me from being a pretty good writer, if I may say so myself. I can write fact, opinion and non/fiction. I can entertain hundreds of people for prolonged periods of time and I can bore people half to death. My recent experiences with writing have taught me that I can drag out the concept of a rabbit being fed by a boy, to a full 3 pages, or that I can arouse people with my incredible detail, given the right information to create a plot-line. I can improvise and I can plan, although to be honest, the former tends to produce better writing from me. In short, I can write.
So, do I need to learn English? Do I need to be subject to a subject’s teaching being disrupted by a combination of staffing failures, misfortune and bad timing? Should I be marked down as an underachiever because I received low grades in an exam I was taught six different, conflicting methods to complete? Should I be forced to learn how to write when previous experience has taught both myself and my readers, that it is completely unnecessary?
The answer, to all of the above, is yes. Would I rather I have consistent teaching? Of course I would, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to get it. Will I forget almost everything I have learnt during my two years of A Level English Language and Literature? Almost definitely, especially Grice’s Maxims, but that doesn’t matter, because the stuff I do remember, will stay with me forever and make me a much better person, whether I become a writer or a plumber, a politician or a regular soldier. English is something I will always need and to be completely honest, I wouldn’t have wanted to learn it any other way.
Can I review that which will always change? No. I cannot. I cannot review my English Course. Can I give it a score based on enjoyment? Why the heck not. We’ve had our ups and we’ve had our downs but by God we’ve stuck at it. Not one of us has walked away from the course and not one of us will. Together, the 50 or so of us will make history, if not in our own way, or as a group, but as that little niggling feeling in the back of our minds when we write our own stuff, both now and in the future. Some of the people around me as I write this, will always be in my minds and will be the inspiration for some of the characters in my later novels.
When I need an intelligent, witty, self-important but also caring female? I choose Kathleen or Charlotte. What about when I need the quiet, yet witty listener? Brody. What about the one that’s dim, but works hard and sticks at trying to work out what the hell is going on around them? Hannah. All of the people around me will one day be characters, if not in my novels, then in my memories, my dreams, nay, even my dreams aft’ death when I have shuffled off this mortal coil. It is a thing I truly wish, that I will not forget these people when I enter that undiscovered country.
Now, why the poetic nature there? I wanted to fit some Hamlet in there in the hope that they’ll notice and talk to me about it in person. Probably wont work.
You ask what the relevance of the cast is, when the play is the thing I review, when, in this case, the play being the class and the cast being the students within, but I answer you with this. All plays are made by their cast. I cannot judge the class without giving my opinion of the people within and as such, my review of English, the subject, is more a review of those that study it alongside me.
The people who make me laugh, or the ones that make me sigh. Together, they inspire and repulse me, want me to draw nearer, yet scare me off. They are the greatest people I know, but also the worst people I know. They both despise me, yet love me at the same time, mock, yet care for. Each are relevant in their own way and you know what? I wouldn’t change them for the world.
This one’s for you guys!