Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me


For more than thirty years Kate Clanchy has taught in schools through Scotland and England alongside writing award-winning poetry. In Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, she reflects on the different schools, their settings and, mostly, the students with whom she worked.

How do different schools’ ethos, aims and locations affect students? Their learning and outlooks? How do different styles of teaching affect students’ learning and outlooks? Thereafter, what about poetry? How does poetry fit in with 21st century learning?

Kate Clanchy has offered an hour long poetry workshop for students in her most recent school for many years. She has offered guidance to other practitioners as in Take Off Your Brave.

Who are her poets, there and in other schools? What are their stories? How does poetry affect them? What do they write? How do they write?

Kate Clanchy’s considerations and experience are reflective and informed. There is a lot about English society, expectations, restrictions and perceptions to acknowledge. Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me will move you deeply. It is an outstanding book that Bookwagon recommends to all teachers and parents.

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Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me

Kate Clanchy

(Swift Press)

Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me is a memoir of teaching from award-winning poet, Kate Clanchy. Over thirty years she has taught in Scottish and English schools. She is our tour guide through these schools and others about which she knows, as an educator, learner and parent. Furthermore, she considers educational changes over the years. In addition, Kate Clanchy considers the lives, differences and experiences of students whom she’s taught. From within her hour long poetry group, we meet the poems and the poets. We realise the stories they create from the words and language she presents. How does this work with them? What have they seen? Where will they go from here? Thereafter, what is revealed by them from their poetry?
While this  book is a contemplation of English education, it is also a statement of our society. It seems hard to believe that short geographical differences should offer the huge divisions in expectation, opportunity and provision that Kate Clanchy witnesses and shares. Thereafter, it is difficult to reconcile the lives of so many of the families we meet. Yet, throughout it all is the poetry that offers control.
Bookwagon recommends Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me to anyone who has ever been to school, taught or parented. It is a raw, unprejudiced, empathetic and gently hopeful consideration of reading, writing and learning.

Winner of the Orwell Prize


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