Saturday, 29 March 2014
Sharing: How Much?
At the start of half term, I got married. As this was to a colleague, it was BIG news. Also as a Catholic RE teacher (who by coincidence was teaching Y10 about marriage at the time), receiving a sacrament, it had added significance - I was finally "practising what I preached", as I was helpfully told by a student.
I think it is a testament to the school in which I work that this was very public knowledge, but without much hassle. The fact that many students attend the church where we were getting married, and it was published in the newsletter, made it very clear as to the date, time and place. Also staff were all aware and many students had relentlessly quizzed them, with small details, often accidentally, revealed. Our school provides itself on its family-like community, and everyone seemed very happy to be genuinely celebrating in our marriage.
It then became hard to work out what to share. Students had asked me to put a picture on the RE Twitter feed. In many schools, teachers would not dream of doing this, but after discussion with my new wife we decided that a few days after that we would publish 'the selfie' taken in the wedding car (see <here>), and one of us in the church walking down the aisle(<here>). These obviously got a lot of retweets and a large number of incredibly kind and genuinely lovely comments from the students.
I know many teachers would be hesitant to share anything of what could be a very private day. Many teachers would not want any students to know about their wedding. I'm not sure if it is the nature of my school, or the nature of my job, or the kind of person I am.
RE teaching lends itself to deeply personal stories. I have spoken about the highs and lows in the lives of my friends and families including the illness and death of my grandparents in lessons. It's hard to be genuine without being personal. It's one of the reasons that I love RE so much and I think Tom Bennett summed it up well in his article recently in the TES (see <here>); it genuinely is a subject like no other.
Already when teaching about marriage we have discussed in the class the marriage preparation and the 'compatibility test', but the question is now, how much more do you, or should you share?
Next year when I teach about marriage in the Catholic church, I have done it, and I'm happy to talk about it... however is my wedding video going to be the ultimate resource or a step too far?