This is my response to Jack:
Well Jack you inspired me as well. During my whole career I noticed how (mostly) boys with a sense of humor, super bright kids like you who had spirit, suffered in schools. For example, that science teacher who shamed you that day in early spring by sending you to the office. How did that help? When I think of you down there waiting to go into that AP’s office, it still pisses me off.
So imagine how proud I was of you when you were the force behind one of the great stories I remember, which as I remember happened after the science class incident. Your leadership in that class of sixth graders played a part in finally providing me with the breakthrough I had been looking for for almost four decades to understand the craft of language teaching in the best way possible.
It took me all all those years before that, stumbling around, to find a way to teach that really works for me. I left New Delhi just bc it was New Delhi (I prefer actual air -like the kind we have here in Colorado – to what they were offering), but it wasn’t an easy decision because I knew that many of you diplomatic corps kids would be back the next year.
I keep you and the other sixth graders, who were so much more imaginative than the boring seventh and eighth graders, in my mind. You don’t even know how clever and funny you were. It’s not the fault of those older kids – they had not had stories from the beginning like you, and got addicted to how easy worksheets are for an easy grade. In our class you guys really had to pay attention, right? But it didn’t feel like work, right? Clever me.
I have written four books since 2015 on exactly what we did in your class (as the starting point for those books) since then. Vampspooder – and all that fat little spider meant in terms of our class – has provided fertile ground for all that has happened and continues to happen – see the attached books for the results of the work we did in New Delhi.
The book with the the actual chapter on Vampspooder is the blue one called A Natural Approach to Stories. Look on page 74. It is the seed book for the other three I’ve attached- A Natural Approach to the Year (ANATTY) and the two books on the Invisibles.
If you have any language teachers who might like to get vampspoodered or are merely hungry and would simply like a nice big helping of vampspowder sprinkled on their own teaching, please share the books with them.
You started something dude, and I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that without you in that class – without your attentive looking around for the next funny thing, the great jokes you cracked, I’m not sure those four books would have happened. Your spirit and mainly your sharp wit and especially your sense of humor injected so much more into that class than you might be aware.
So good to hear from you. I assume you’re back home in England now. Let me tell you a secret – probably not so much of a secret – but we Americans look to your country and Canada and also France these days as places a lot of us would like to be. These aren’t our best days. We can’t come over the pond, of course – we have work to do, much work to get our country back. Don’t give up on us! We will do it. We always do. We’re Americans.
Again, so happy to hear from you! Made my day. Live well and enjoy. Your sense of fun and the heartfelt sentiment in your email – thank you! – reflects the greatness of your country, land of poets and football and civility a kind of greenery that exists nowhere else on earth – and thanks for sending Rooney to D.C. United – he’s helping get football onto the radar here in the U.S.
I’m expecting big things from you, now that you have just about survived school. You got the hard part over first. Remember, it’s not so much about the grades, although you know and respect that they are a necessary part of the game you must play and I know you know that and are keeping your grades up, but once you are free and graduated from university, you will use those great social and people skills and that great sense of humor to help others. I know you will do that. It’s not like there isn’t work to be done on that front, helping others.