My name is Athole McLauchlan and I am currently a Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher at the Western Academy of Beijing in China. This is my professional online think tank and portfolio.
I had a short lived one previously here http://video-school.blogspot.co.uk
And a slightly better loved travel blog here http://furry-boots.blogspot.co.uk
Why is it called ‘through the windae’? (Through the window)
One of my favourite Scottish films is Gregory’s Girl, a beautifully observed and hilarious film about teenage awkwardness and football, set in the near-future vision of Cumbernauld in 1980. In one of the scenes, Billy, a school leaver who has returned to the school as a window cleaner, shouts out to his former teacher,
‘If I dinnae see you through the week, I’ll see you through the windae!’
The logo for the site is borrowed from a classic BBC TV programme of my early years called Play School, where each day you had to choose a window to enter and were treated to a short documentary style clip of a biscuit factory, children playing or watching fish in a fish tank.
As a teacher I love the sense of shared adventure and inquiry that teaching and learning can bring. Inspired by Calvin and Hobbes, ‘It’s a magical world, let’s go exploring…’
I am also fascinated by memory. What we remember and why we remember it. What are we doing when learning sticks and what are we doing when it doesn’t?
I also think that play is paramount in learning. Taking risks, getting messy, problem solving, taking your time, experimenting, inventing, creating, collaborating, sharing, day dreaming, thinking, discovering; all the good stuff.
So ‘through the windae’ could mean lots of things: a window to another world; a portal to the internet; different ways to connect; different ways to learn; different ideas to discuss; memories and experiences to share and future visions to dream up.
I have two big brothers. One of them, Neil, died of cancer at the age of 46 in 2010. He also used the catchphrase, ‘If I dinnae see you through the week, I’ll see you through the windae.’ I see him all the time in my thoughts. And miss him still. The last film we watched together was Withnail and I. To quote Withnail,
‘You’re not leaving me in here alone. Those are the kind of windows faces look in at.’
He’s never far away.
Two Christmases before he died, Neil edited and gifted a slowed down version of the colour 16mm footage of my Christening. You can see it here:
The last slide reads:
Long life and happiness. Be aye true tae yourself.
As a loving partner, a devoted dad and a dedicated teacher I rejoice in success and learn from mistakes every single day. But I also know that there is work to be done. Another education system, another Scotland and another society for my kids to grow up in is still possible. Let’s get on with it, shall we. Because we’re not there. Yet.
There is another way.