Matt Dadley, 2013 Cohort (English)

Voices - 30 September 2014

Matt gives us a taste of his relationship with the photocopying machine at school.

I realised today that I actually love walking down the school corridors in the direction of the photocopier or even better, the little filing room where completed photocopying awaits me. I know it would be marginally more glamorous to love base-jumping or film directing, but neither of these things strikes me as an adequate substitute for my job as a teacher. I’ll admit that it is a bit odd to be enamoured with photocopying when there are more critical components of teaching that I could discuss, but then I also like the milo in the staffroom, and the way teenagers are economical with syllables (“ssup sir?”).

Printed, photocopied classroom materials excite me for a range of reasons. They are a symbol of creativity - I love being in a career where almost every day I create something tangible and potentially useful. They are one contribution to building a young person’s interest, knowledge or confidence in something new that for a moment can be held and be proven to exist. They are transformational - in the hands of students they are pondered, added to, questioned, redesigned, and can even take flight. They are also a yardstick of my development as I have moved from photocopying resources adapted from my colleagues, to single-sided solo creations, to my latest triumph - the folded… stapled… booklet! Resplendent in its cover page, ‘glittering’ transferable goals and success criteria, and self-evaluation page! (“Shot sir.”).

By now I have to acknowledge that I care more for kids than I do for trees, which is something of a revelation, but it seems appropriate that I’m learning things about myself in step with the students I teach. What they teach me is the hidden gem of the job, and it won’t be long before I’m sat down and taught about the virtual photocopier in the cloud and generously shown a glimpse of a future that will extend beyond my teaching years. However, I will never shy away from those simple teaching pleasures such as a ‘back in my day tale’ - about paper and all the good things about education, life and learning way back in 2014 (“uhhh sir!).