The Blind Date Experience: Writers in Schools revisited

A  Blind Date pre-date encounter

Questioner       If you were a crisp flavour, which one would you be?

Contestant     Curry flavoured, because I like to be hot AND spicy!

Audience        Whooooooooo!
Subtext          Pick me and we’ll have sex.

Contestant 2    Beef flavour, because I like a man with some meat!
Audience         Whooooooooooooooo!
Subtext          Pick me and we’ll have sex.

Contestant 3      Obvious really, tomato sauce flavour because when you pick me I’ll be getting saucy with you!
Audience          WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Subtext            Pick me and we’ll go on holiday. And have sex.

A real world, lived experience of a writer visiting a school encounter

The protagonists: Carol, (writer), Jean(teacher), Jeff (head teacher)

What they said (1)

Carol      I think there’s much fertile ground in the class for more of the same, and hope that what we began together can be a first stage for others — including their lovely class teacher — to develop further. The time felt so short, but the nurture of the imagination wont be hurried. So, with the little time we did have I was delighted, often amused, and frequently moved by all that happened. The children clearly respect and like you Jean. I know you were modest enough to say it was because they were such a nice class — they are — but your cheerful, authoritative and sensitive approach must also set a standard for them to behave as well as they did. It was a pleasure working with you I’m still chuckling at the head stands and cartwheels and ‘sausage rolls’!

Jean      We all got on well and the children like Carol. Our aims were to develop writing skills of children and help children understand some of the different processes involved in producing a finished piece of writing. Also to have fun….We worked to a bigger scale than usual – 3 stories was a challenge…. A day of writing is hard going but we were all able to mix in different activities…. We worked together on a story…. We have finished and edited the work to produce books…. Writing in the past was an area where they lacked knowledge….We spent time discussing what they had done both with the writer and later in class….. Many increased confidence by achieving a finished book….We produced bound books.

Jeff   Our residencies to date have varied considerably, but all have added huge impact. Carol helped develop pupils extended fictional diary writing which had huge benefits of off-site research and writing – highly recommended for both adults and children. The atmosphere of writing in a local museum had considerable impact on the final piece.

What Happened Next: writers in schools conference, 6 months later

What they said (2)

Jeff      I have huge concerns about what I heard from Carol at this mornings conference. I am not sure if she was being deliberatly contentious, but felt too uncomfortable to challenge her comments or indeed present what I wanted to. I just hope that none of her bitterness filters back to my school community. If our work is all that wrong, I see no point in continuing with the project.

A Blind Date post-date encounter: on the sofa with Cilla

Questioner            I think I really love her and I hope we keep in touch.

Lucky Contestant    I thought he was a bit of a tosser really.

Author: drnicko

Awarded an MBE for services to arts-based businesses, I am passionate about generating inspiring, socially engaging, creative practice within educational contexts both nationally and internationally.

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