So here we are again
I am sitting in my shed delivering lessons to a constant stream of disaffected students who are dividing their time between screenshotting my face and adding obscenities and checking in on their various social media platforms. Unlike the summer it is currently colder than the heart of Iain Duncan-Smith and I am dressed in more layers of clothing than a serial shoplifter.
So what has this got to do with Americana UK you rightly ask? And it’s this. Each day starts with a song and in between each lesson there is a brief moment when I claim back my day with a blast of something, be it affirmative, plaintive or just aggressive depending on how the technology has worked or which child has muted another.
My shed is situated at the bottom of a terraced garden. I stare either at the flickering screen of my laptop or at the back of the house. It is 6ft by 8ft and filled with me and my life. Albums fill every surface, be they CDs, cassettes or vinyl – there are also books and an ancient cocktail cabinet I inherited. The walls are plastered with the tickets and setlist from countless gigs. I could genuinely live here but I don’t want to, it’s flipping cold for one thing!
My escape has become my prison and so music has become even more important. I am sure I am not alone in finding that our worlds have shrunk and that the communion of music has become (perhaps once again) a solo occupation. A refuge sought, a relationship rekindled, an old friend returned to or perhaps a new thrill.
So this is a teacher’s help kit that will be delivered weekly along with an update about ‘progress’ in the state of remote education. As I said there tends to be three strands to the music played:
A good lesson – kids engaged, topics covered, good feedback – a satisfied signing off followed by something affirmative.
A bad lesson – technology goes wrong, people missing meaning more catch up work on top of keeping those present first time round moving forward, lack of understanding of topic ( is it me or them??) – a resigned click followed by a deflated sense of melancholy.
A nightmare lesson – it all goes to shit. No matter what intervention takes place, it still all goes to shit. Sign off and play something loud whilst screaming at the walls.
So here are this week’s three – take what you need!