What’s Your Achilles’ Heel?

Though secondary school teachers are of course experts in their chosen fields, it’s probably fair to state that most of us have an Achilles heel. Mine is poetry. Fellow English teachers extol the emotional connection that they had with a poem, while the emotional connection I typically experience is deep confusion. The Cox Report (1989), which helped to establish the national curriculum as we know it, brilliantly described poetry as ‘language made strange’, though chances are its author foresaw the students finding it alien rather than those charged with teaching it. Remarkably, the poetry essays I wrote at university all … Continue reading What’s Your Achilles’ Heel?

Revise ‘War Photographer’ by Carol Anne Duffy

Download the War Photographer lesson pack here. Context Carol Ann Duffy made history in 2009 when she became the first woman to hold the post of Poet Laureate. War Photographer is a poem about war and its effects on civilians. The poem discusses the lasting effects of war trauma on those photographers who take pictures of famine and battle. It also deals with the broader ethical issue of whether observing and photographing war rather than helping is the right thing to do. It makes us question, along with the photographer, the worth of risking life to document conflict around the … Continue reading Revise ‘War Photographer’ by Carol Anne Duffy