Odes, Oaths and Symphonies


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

I first remember reading those wonderfully evocative opening lines in Mrs Sparks' fourth year English class. Unforgettable.

Keats' Ode to Autumn.


How timely as we approach half term.

An ode is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as 'a poem meant to be sung... usually of exalted style'.

An oath, by contrast is 'a solemn appeal to a revered person or object... a binding promise'.

I'm sure you will be aware of the Shadow Minister for Education's recent proposal for a teachers' version of the Hippocratic Oath.

Like most news stories, the emphasis has been placed on an eye catching headline. It ignores the deeper issues about better recognition for and valuing of the profession and the need for appropriate training and development for those within it. But I certainly wouldn't find it necessary to know that my teachers had taken an oath to either demonstrate their commitment to the 'noble calling' of profession or, indeed, to raise its profile and status with the public.

Teachers aren't doctors, but musicians; composers, in fact.

The great lesson is like a majestic symphony.

It has movements; central themes; key learning objectives. Core content.

But also subtle counterpoints; melodies; wider learning: literacy, numeracy... economic awareness...


And the coda, the recap, the conclusion.

And then the work has to be passionately and expertly conducted, gloriously bringing together both themes and melodies, and the skills of all the members of the orchestra. An individual and collective triumph. A masterpiece of learning.

So, let's finish my random autumnal thoughts with this... For no other reason than I really like it!