Latin -- in Jamie's Dream School and elsewhere
I don't know how many of you watched the Jamie Oliver's Dream School, episode one. As I have been i Washington working on my emperor lectures, I havent seen it. I believe that there was about 5 seconds of me, before the whole thing moved into the Starkey strop.
It's funny that the programme is billed as if it were the kids who are the reality tv characters here. But actually the spotlight is on the teachers -- with Starkey playing the Jade Goody part (lippy and off message, but brilliantly celeb status even if you end up hating him).To be fair, not everything he says is wrong (I could never quite understand why the head allowed the kids to take mobile phones into class.. or why they all came into my lesson with their shiny new laptops .. woudn't you have played with them? And he did say some nice things about me...and about why you might want to study history, and how you might want to understand the Middle Ages, etc)
I have to say, though, that in the "staff room" Starkey was the only one who didn't fess up to any nervousness or uncertainty about his ability to wow the kids -- unlike all the other celebs I met. So there is a certain satisfaction in seeing him in a bit of trouble.
Except that I think .. me next. It all depends how kind or cruel the editors of the days'worth of film have been.
Meanwhile, Latin hasn't had a bad press from all this. I wrote a piece for the Guardian about the whole Dream School idea, and a load of the comments came out very much on side.
And there are other great initiatives afoot to get Latin into schools at all levels. One is a new clasical magazine, Iota, for younger kids, published by the excellent Iris project. This mgazine needs funds to keep going, so if anyone has a quid or two to spare, you could always send it to Iris.