For teachers, whether it’s staying up to date with current affairs or learning about the ideas and discoveries that shape who we are, finding time is always a challenge, particularly if you work in a boarding school. At the same time it’s important that we stay relevant and keep learning. This selection of weekly bulletins, podcasts, articles and TV shows are how I try to do this in a time effective manner. Check them out.
The start of the working week is usually frantic so just time to squeeze in this 10 minute news bulletin after morning assembly. Delivered by journalist Verashni Pillay over WhatsApp, you can read it, but I prefer the voice note option so I can listen at my desk. It deals with the big stories in South Africa from the previous week.
Tuesday: The Infinite Monkey Cage
Hosted by Brian Cox, this free podcast available from the BBC actually comes out on Monday. However I listen on the Tuesday as I have time to go for a walk and that’s when I listen to podcasts. This is a humorous science show featuring a curious mix of scientists and celebrities. I battled with this subject when I was younger but this layman’s version has taught me more about our universe than I ever learnt at school.
Wednesday: Prime Ministers Questions
This weekly ritual in the bear pit of London’s House of Commons brings in to sharp relief the big issues in the UK. If I can, I pop home for lunch to catch it. I may be betraying my roots here but for me the 30 minutes of PMQ, where the government is held to account, is in many ways the visible beating heart of democracy. Long may it continue. Somehow the midday madness restores my sanity. As the back benchers yell at the end of the exchanges, ‘more, more’.
Available on Sky News https://news.sky.com/
Thursday: Jonathan Jansen
Jansen’s column in the Times Live is worth paying the subscription for alone. Sometimes controversial, often insightful and always thought provoking, Jansen has his finger on the pulse. He mostly writes about education issues in South Africa and if that’s your gig you can’t afford not to read him.
Friday: In Our Time
There’s usually time for a longer walk at the end of the working week and that’s when I load up my second podcast. Available from Thursday, this free BBC programme discusses the history of ideas in areas such as literature, history, science, philosophy and art with leading academics in the field. It’s the education we all need but probably never got. The podcast version includes off air discussion after the show which continues until the producer comes in to offer tea and coffee before kicking everyone out of the studio.
Saturday: My two cents
Saturday’s are about sport, particularly in boarding schools, and if you want to hold your own in discussions with your fellow coaches and parents you need to read this blog. Written by Theo Garrun, formerly editor of the Saturday Star School Sports supplement, these posts will keep you up to date with the talking points in South African school sport. Theo is not afraid to call out some of the questionable practices that go on in this areana. These post can come out anytime, so save them for Saturday just before you head down to the sports fields.
Sunday: Sophy Ridge On Sunday
A more leisurely day means I can take the time to enjoy this 90 minute show before seeing friends or heading out for breakfast. This Sky News production manages to examine the intersection of politics and everyday life. The the highlight for me is when Sophy heads out of London to explore the politics of a particular region. I must admit I do often record this show and fast forward the more lengthy interviews.
Before you know it the bells are ringing for evening Chapel and the start of another week…