I am sure I am not the only educator whose life is defined by School. Now that’s not to say that I don’t have another life, I do. It’s not terribly exciting it must be said, but it suits me. My wife and I work together, but Jenny and I see very little of each other at work, so come the holidays and we get to know each other again, and engage in the kind of activities that consenting adults of a certain age do. 2 weeks of an Easter break and I can confirm that our garden is ‘fit to grow’, with the floral and veggie patches both breathing a sigh of relief that our attentions have been diverted back to school. Frankly, if we don’t have a groaning table of delights from early summer onwards, I’ll eat my gardening gloves! Ok the 2 week break wasn’t actually that; Term ended on the Thursday, major staff workshops on the Friday and then 2 days of office time followed by 2 days at the Google Teacher Academy and my time off looks rather more like 10 days. But the time spend with friends and family, recharging batteries and doing things not timed by ‘Bells’ was fabulous. We paid a great visit to the growing wealth of ‘Bletchley Park‘, the centre for WW2 code cracking and it is a real testament to human endeavour, past and present, and I’ll write about that more shortly.
However, I am defined by my professional life, and I go to work every day hoping to have a huge amount of fun. Yes, I know it seems a bit unfashionable to say it, but Learning and Education ought to be the most fun thing that ever happens in one’s life. School and University days really ought to be the happiest days, an extended period of ‘messy’ learning when we collaborate with all sorts of people, things, events and celebrations, bump and bruise our knees, shins and elbows a bit, make and lose friends, explore what we could possibly be sometime in the future and perhaps even dare to be someone or achieve something beyond our wildest imaginations.
So that’s how April Fools day fits in, the approved day of the year when we can really stretch the imaginations beyond breaking point, tease those whose eyes are not on this main prize (having some fun) and lift even the darkest mood for a few hours. 2012 so some great pranks, my favourites being (in no particular order)
- David Walliams and Simon Cowells’ Bromance
- a back-to-the future bit of fun from Google, introducing Maps in 8 bits
Actually Google had a bit more fun than just this, introducing Google self-drive to Nascar racing, Google Fiber Bar to improve digestive efficiency and Google Tap to smart phones so users could use Morse Code.
- News broadcaster NPR announced the reduction of Twitter characters from 140 to 133
- The Guardian reported that David Cameron had appointed Happy Monday’s Hell Raiser Shaun Ryder to detox the Tories
- Richard Branson launched Virgin Volcanic to take passengers to the heart of volcanoes.
OK, none of these 5 were quite as brilliant as the 1957 BBC spoof on Spaghetti farms, but such is the detail given in all 6 spoofs that they seem really quite likely, and a good many people took the bait, hook, line and stinker! Growing up is all about learning how to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not, and increasingly in this world where information beyond our ken is just a finger tip away, it seems to me that that message is often best put over with a good deal of humour.
So not being in school for April 1 in 2012 means that we missed the opportunity for some serious fun; yep we can invent some April 1 activities (and I am during each of my Assemblies at the start of term) on other days, but it really isn’t quite the same is it. Like unpacking presents before Christmas. But if you are an adolescent or teachers within Claires Court Schools, watch out for the advent of ‘Assembly Cricket‘ to rival the forthcoming test series against the West Indies, our ‘Commemoration‘ service rival to BBC’s ‘The Voice’ and ‘Strawberry Crumble‘, Claires Court’s version of the innovative ‘Rasberry Pi‘.
And in case you think I am slightly off the mark, consider this as I close; as 2012 moves towards Summer, have those in Public life that ought to know better really shown that they do? One of this country’s greatest features, what makes its democracy so long lasting, is that we know how to poke fun and bring the mighty down. Satirical writing, be that in print, on the air or on screen does a huge amount to right wrongs and to put people in their place. OK, not necessarily something that needs to inform every lesson, but certainly one that our children should have the opportunity to experience, and as part of that national psyche that is English!