Happy Holidays


Walked down to the beach yesterday and felt for the first time that I was truly on holidays. Time to listen to some new music Delightful Rain (a celebration of Australian surf music) and some new reading, effortlessly (in this new headspace) moving between Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and a Neil Young biography called Shakey.

Time too for a leisurely coffee, a bit of sustained writing and to read the paper all the way through. The edublogs can wait for a week or two!

National Control Needed over the Institute of Public Affairs

I needn’t have spent time and energy on my last post about mini-me Kevin Donnelly clone Roskam. Lynn Sunderland’s letter in the AGE today, says it all.

Roskam should come to class some time

I AM heartily sick of working in a profession that seems to be fair game for every tin-pot little conservative ideologue. This
time it is John Roskam’s turn to assert (Opinion, 11/10) that I work in a book-free zone where all morals are relative and my students divide their time between television and playing computer games.

Perhaps Roskam would like to stand in front of my students and repeat these comments. Could be good for a laugh! On Wednesday alone, my English classes covered everything from spelling and grammar to Jack the Ripper, the influence of Napoleon on European thinking and the Spanish Civil War, across authors as diverse as Malouf, Ibsen, Defoe, Chekhov, Danny Katz and Shakespeare. Yes, Shakespeare!

I wonder if Roskam would like to come home from a hard day at work spent thinking up new ways to insult English teachers, only to find that I have written a column pleading the urgent need for national control over the Institute of Public Affairs on the basis that he and his colleagues spend their time with their feet up on the desk, flicking rubber bands at the ceiling and throwing darts at their Chairman Mao dartboard.

He may well conclude that I know as little about his workplace as he knows about mine.

Lynn Sunderland, Lyonville

History Wars hit the front page

Caulfield Grammar VCE history teacher Rodney Knight fears the history summit may result in a

I might write later about some of the zany things that the new Education Minister has to say about History in the AGE today, and on the front page too! Rodney Knight, teacher at Caulfield Grammar, gets it right though when he says:

But the Caulfield Grammar School teacher is worried about thedirection the debate is taking, and fears any move to impose a singular narrative of Australia’s past.

Referring to claims that children are not being taught enough basic details of history, he says: “Is it really important that you know what years the Depression was in? What’s more important for me is for kids to have an understanding of what a severe economic contraction can do to families.

“If there is a list of dates, issues and people, then I think they will lose the richness and diversity that I currently see engaging the 25 kids in my history class.”

According to some of those students, Mr Knight manages his job well enough without the need for a new set of instructions from the nation’s politicians..