A World of Pure Imagination

Start of the school year usually requires that I am immersed, headfirst, plunging and free falling, swimming frantically for survival into a sibilant Shakespearean sea. Romeo and Juliet for third year, King Lear for fifth year, Hamlet for sixth and repeat year. This term is no different. Head down, eyes blindly open, I am competently, happily and often indulgently devouring the imagery only visible in the works of the Bard. Frantically tape changing, rewinding and clip downloading. Tapes are so such better than CD for this type of work! Themes of kingship control my thoughts. Imagery of  disease and decay clog my breathing space. Corruption and chaos reign. This will be the course until good forces can possibly tip the balance and win in the end. Around October midterm tends to be the time a restoration of calm and order arrives to a renewed Denmark, a devastated Verona and a damaged Britain. We have lived to see a new day.william-shakespeare-67765_640

We haven’t abandoned the worlds of Othello, The Merchant of Venice or the evils existent in The Scottish play.

They are just not on our course this year. We know these turbulent tragedies boil and fizz away ominously, a pit of emotion veiled beneath a dustily ragged jacket, awaiting their time to retell their tales.

An occasional comic interlude intercepts the tragedy for fear we fall foul to an oblivion of disaster. .. this may be when my student calls Cordelia from Lear ‘Cinderella’ without a trace of irony. Ironic in itself as the play is awash with dramatic irony. Giggles are allowed in my classroom.  Often encouraged. Would you believe!lotus-563456_640

I have been verbose and verbal all week. Lecturing. Explaining. Defining. Repeating. Occasionally ‘doing voices’ at the risk of my reputation.

Not complaining.  I love it.

You couldn’t do it if you didn’t love it.

It is Saturday however and there is a lump in my throat. A pain in my ear. This is the teacher’s version of tennis elbow.  It will pass. I am used to it. It is the chaos I must experience until order can be restored.

Until my voice box becomes used to the excessive taking aloud after the considerable amount of talking to myself or small children all summer. Gentler tones not booming commands. Wheedling promises as opposed to a strict ‘no takebacks’ oral discopline. A ‘no touch’ policy replaces the abundance of cuddles that accompany parenting. Compliments, constructive criticism create a cacophonous classroom.

It had to happen. It is a yearly event.

My speech has been obstructed by the growls of onomatopoeia. I look out the window at the teeming rain but can see the glimmer of a hopeful sun away on the horizon start a slow crawl towards our home as I painfully swallow my tea. Machiavellian treachery stalking my classroom and in turn my mind has manifested into physical personal  pain. Assonance has put a cut to my gut and my mouth is shut. Speaking aloud is like slicing and severing sections of blistering, sun sorched skin. Personified. A cacophonos chaotic classroom has killed my fondness for  phonics.

Ouch. Assaulted by the alphabet.

Being back in the classroom after summer has many benefits.


I love the subject.  So much.

It is nice to have official breaks-where I can drink entire cups of coffee! It is good to feel clean. Mostly. Marker dust aside. I like my other role. I just know why Batman felt the need for two personas in life. bitmoji-20160928113450The students make me smile. They challenge me. I am ready.

One price is the voice box.  Temporary. A few choking in front of my class episodes will occur.  I will get through.

This is no tragedy.

We will march on. Life’s a stage. We are merely players. With the occasional frog in our throat. theatre-91882_640.jpg


25 thoughts on “A World of Pure Imagination

  1. Oh, I absolutely loved this post! I loved my English Literature teacher when I was still in school and she was so passionate that the whole class would consume, breathe and devour Shakespeare. Her passion definitely rubbed off on me and I can tell you’re one of those special ones too. Take care of the throat. Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! I had one of those teachers too. I never thought I would be able to do it myself but I love it so much😀the throat came around much like the tragic hero to his flaw!! Am getting a hard time getting writing time for myself these days so getting this post done was great. Once again thank you for co hosting this lovely linky #bigpinklink

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh how I do love the Bard… and I loved this post! I too “know why Batman felt the need for two personas in life.” Except I need about half a dozen. 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG


  4. My English teacher was my most inspiring teacher. She made Shakespeare accessible and relevant for our whole class and we were lucky enough to visit both the Barbican and the Globe to watch Macbeth and Hamlet, which of course is how Shakespeare intended his words to be heard. I think most of us from her class left our GCSE years with a love of Shakespeare’s words. It sounds like you are a very similar teacher. Thanks for sharing on #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such lyrical words! Although “Imagery of disease and decay clog my breathing space” reminds me too much of the recent Birmingham binman strike 😂😂😂😉


  6. Orla, you made me laugh with the comment about the frog, which is entirely appropriate with my cold. Waiting for the rugby to start on TV so will no doubt be hoarse with no frog 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’d love to have you as my Literature teacher 🙂 You brought every moment alive with all that gorgeous imagery and I pictured myself back in my A-Levels class, listening to my professor speak about Lear and Othello with such incredible vim and energy.

    (Stopping by from Suzie’s Blog party )


  8. I absolutely loved reading Shakespeare in school, but I know that many of my peers struggled- having a teacher like you would have made such a difference for them! I love reading medieval literature even now, and I know that there is a lot to tackle and unpack with it, but having those teachers and professors who were willing to take the time with me had a lasting impact! I hope that you enjoy this go around- what are you reading? 🙂


  9. I read this post awhile ago and am sincerely shocked I didn’t comment then! I love this rollicking word circus that perfectly sets the tone for readers of what a chaotic new year of Shakespeare’s finest must bring. If your students are treated to such glorious description, I’ve no doubt they’re the most engaged kids ever. Thank you for sharing your passion! It picked me up on a gloomy day.


  10. What a great teacher you are, with boundless enthusiasm and love for your subject. Well done, your students are indeed lucky to have you. I hope your throat heals quickly, it is a real teacher issue!!


  11. So, reading between the lines you have so cunningly disguised, am I correct to assume (one should never do that of course) that 1) you love teaching and 2) you love the Bard himself (works thereof and not emotionally).

    Love the passion you threw into this and if half of that hits the classroom then your kids must be enthralled by learning with you. I often think if the teacher is not enthusiastic then the subject becomes dull; and IMO there are very few topics that are entirely dull; if you love it and can relate it outwards then learning thrives.

    Super post 🙂


  12. Currently suffering the teacher’s holiday cold myself now, I totally sympathise with you Orla! I loved Shakespeare at school. One of my faves was A Comedy Of Errors!
    Hope your voice returns and your abundant enthusiasm continues to inspire your students! Go Orla!!!!!


  13. Your kids are so lucky to have SUCH an enthusiastic teacher!
    I hope strepsils help and that your throat feels better soon!!


  14. Hi,
    I am a teacher too so I can relate. We can teach with any symptom except laryngitis. I use to teach high school English. I still teach Shakespeare in my Renaissance unit. I often get sick in the fall when my body isn’t used to waking up early anymore.


  15. My daughter has always been lucky in her teachers for English, perhaps that enthusiasm is just carried through the generations and finds the people who will pass it on engagingly as it goes. Lovely writing, I’ll show it to her. 😉


  16. I had an inspiring English teacher too! Keep up the good work but take care of your throat. I often find these days when I talk too much I struggle to keep my voice strong. There is a weakness there sadly. Perhaps sometimes I chat too much!

    Liked by 1 person

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