What These GCSEs Are Wearing

Kate Clanchy, writer and teacher [editor: England: Poems from a School – poetry from migrant children; writer: Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me – on teaching in general and teaching creative writing] is someone I know through her tweets, and these are predominantly examples of her students’ poetry, this prompted by her creative writing ideas/models – essential stimulus – and her guidance/encouragement as a teacher – fundamental.

She recently posted a wonderful poem by Helen, 14, Full Length Portrait of the Wind, and this was the stimulus for the poem [to read her poem, go to KC’s twitter account]:

If you take ten minutes at the beginning of the lesson to ask your students what sort of boots the wind is wearing this morning and what coat she has on, then no one’s GCSEs will be harmed and poems will probably occur. Helen was 14.

I am always impressed by, and as a writer/teacher myself empathetic to, the ideas and responses Clanchy posts, but what acted as a prompt to me was the assertion then ‘no one’s GCSEs will be harmed’, an obvious if satirical point one shouldn’t have to state, but there are plenty of educational philistines out there who wouldn’t have a clue.

I made a retweet about GCSEs in boots and KC responded with an urge for writing that personifies GCSEs – and I did, sort of. What I came up with was more emblem than personification, but I enjoyed the stimulus:

gcse wear


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