Friday 10th August 2018

What might a day in the life of an English Student look like at John McGlashan College?

Busy.  Dynamic, varied and busy.  Miss, Ms or Mister English Guru might be discussing the nuances apparent in the incongruity between Iago's rationalisations and his true motivations with your son/charge, or considering the extent to which Ant-Man conforms to the Marvel Superhero archetype.

Perhaps a collection of our young McGlashan men will all be editing the same google doc, identifying key quotations that get to the heart of a poem and explaining how each contributes to mood, theme and purpose, whilst their co-collaborators expand on or challenge their thinking.  

Perhaps they'd be a part of the Year 9 extension writing group, challenged to tell a story the equal of Hemingway's six-word 'For Sale' and then expand this into a piece of flash fiction.  And submit it for 'Inkster' the school's journal of creative writing and art.

Perhaps, as was the case for a Year 11 class today, they would experience the pure joy of a practice external assessment.  And they could improve their acting skills too.  How successful they were at projecting a false persona of dubious enthusiasm.  Really, they knew this was all about intellectual fitness and skill building.  In their hearts, I'm sure they were deeply enthralled.  

Were they in an IB class, they might be buried deep, deep inside authorial intention.  They would be searching intently for the number of references to 'windows' in Bernhard Schlink's 'The Reader' or exploring the complexity of their feelings for Blanche, from 'A Streetcar Named Desire' who is at once deeply sympathetic and utterly obnoxious.  

Perhaps, as a junior, it was their time for a library period.  They would sink deep into both a book and a bean bag in the sunny north-west corner of the ELC, and soak in the rich waters of language and narrative.  Until the hush was broken.  Until it was time to withdraw to the classroom, and revisit the fundamentals of an independent clause.  (They're like trucks by the way - there's a driver, an engine and a general trucky shape to them.)

Wherever they were, whoever was standing in front of them, the learning would be rich, and their adeptness with comprehending and communicating all that it means to be human, would be growing and growing.

All in a day's work.