Teaching of English in Schools

I always had an interest in the English Language, however, there were many other areas of interest which I did not pursue with the tenacity I do for that particular subject. As you grow older, a variety of imponderables dictates which hobbies inspire you and which fall by the wayside. I have been published online and in print through a voyage into journalism, so what was that made writing (and reading) so important in my life?


Looking back, I always had an interest in the subject. At the age of nine, I sat down to begin my memoirs (ah, the modesty). Despite the brevity of the life which preceded that time, the piece became one of many unfinished works that bore my name.


I pursued another career and have achieved rather a lot in a field alien to that which my ambition lays. It pays relatively well, it tickles my ego, but does it excite my elevation from a warm bed in the morning? A box of smashed alarm clocks would suggest not.


The passion for English remains constant and I can trace a real triggering rather than inception back to a particular teacher I had in high school. This wasn’t one of those Good Will Hunting type relationships, it was the standard fare between teacher and all students which said they will teach and I will (sometimes) learn. Indeed the teacher had no problem calling someone a ‘moron’ or even ‘dickhead’, but in a school that was particularly unruly, it did no more than gain him respect from otherwise difficult pupils.


Mr. Foley was an Irish teacher who was, at least to me, defined by his love for the works he taught really gave light to the underlying drive I had to write and to read. When he read to the class, he took on quite brilliant accents to bring characters to life. I can still hear his Of Mice and Men voice for Lenny some twenty years on. As much as teaching, he was passing on a quench to learn, a desire to read, write, and absorb everything that English had to offer. I can only hope there are a plethora of Mr. Foleys out there teaching the next generation, but my reluctant suspicion is that they are far too rare a commodity.


What inspired your interest in English? Did a particular teacher play a significant role in you developing a passion?


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