Archives for March 2017


Up the Down Staircase

Book cover

Over a late lunch decided to begin re-reading “Up The Down Staircase” by Bel Kaufman. This time as an ebook. I loved it as a teenager … and again as a new (or nearly new) teacher. 

I’m expecting to love it once more … but have only got as far as the end of the introduction, which is brilliant! Such an accurate reflection of the state of education from someone who has observed it over a whole lifetime. 

Bel Kaufman was 101 when she wrote this intro in 2012. (She died at 103 in 2014). Her story of how she came to write the book and her astute observations and reflections are wonderful. 

Both a sharp criticism of all that is wrong in education and a celebration of those marvellous men and women, the inspired and inspiring teachers who truly make a difference.

I’d recommend this as mandatory reading for everyone who, like me, is passionate about teaching and learning and what our education systems should be doing for our young. :)


Play Time

Yep … play time … two words. Though I guess it was playtime too  … :) Thoroughly enjoyed Faith Healer, written by Irish playwright Brian Friel back in 1979 during The Troubles.

MTC put on a fantastic production, directed by Judy Davis. A minimalist stage with only a few props allowed the audience to focus on the poetry and emotional power of the script – a fascinating woven tapestry of four independent but linked monologues.

Strong performances from all three actors beautifully delivered the humour and deep tragedy of the story. Colin Friels as the troubled, yet charismatic faith healer, Alison Whyte as his devoted wife/mistress and Paul Blackwell as his long-suffering manager … all were excellent and often nuanced performances..

The whole play was a wonderful and at times very moving illustration of how we create our own realities. And how, as Fred Allen one said:

A human being is nothing but a story with skin around it