teaching unplugged – in brief

Welcome back

This blog has been on hold for some time, while the family cared for and at length said goodbye to my mother, Pauline. I’m proud to pay tribute to her influence here, whilst also sharing some breaking news from the world of ‘dogme’ (you’ll see the reason for the inverted commas) and inviting you to contribute to a onefortywords Special.

Finally, there’s a long overdue shout-out to Mark Andrews and his Classrooms on the Danube blog. I’ve realised how hard it is to get back on the roundabout of blogging once you’ve stepped off for any reason – all the more reason to appreciate him and all the other indefatigable bloggers of ELT.

As always, you can read the new stuff by scrolling down this column, and use category headings to search the archives, and comment at will. Welcome back!



  Matt Ledding wrote @

Terribly sorry to hear the news. Even though I am responding almost a month later, wanted to pass on my
deepest sympathies.

  lukemeddings wrote @

Hi Matt, I’m now responding some time after your kind comment which – like the other comments here – I very much appreciated. I’m going to close comments on these posts now, and I’d like to thank everyone for contributing – it was very good to compare notes on teaching families and reflect on the continuity in that.

  Callie Wilkinson wrote @

Hi Luke,

Our mothers are our most influential teachers, no? I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, and hope you and yours are adjusting to a different normality without too much pain. My dad died four years ago and it’s still a struggle.

My sister and I both teach. My dad was a surgeon, however he was responsible for the learning of many junior doctors. I now understand the pleasure and reward this brought him. If I could be half as good at my job as he was, I’d be a happy bunny.

Best, Callie 🙂

  lukemeddings wrote @

Hi Callie

It’s always interesting to learn more about our parents and sometimes we do that through our own experiences, after they’re gone. It becomes part of an internal conversation, but it’s a meaningful and important one. Btw I bet you are half as good – and much more than that.

Thanks for this


  James Baggesen wrote @

Hi Luke

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. I was also very touched reading your recent posts.
My mother was a teacher and so is my sister.

Wishing you well


  lukemeddings wrote @

Hi James, many thanks for this. It’s good to see you here, and to hear about another teaching family.

  Vicky Loras wrote @

Hi Luke!
I am very sorry about your loss. In Greece we say, “May you always be well to remember her and the good times”.
Well, in my family, teaching sure runs in it!
My two sisters and I are English teachers; then there are other teachers, French, primary Greek school teachers,German teachers….big Greek families on both sides so you can imagine!!!
Thank you very much for this post and the posts that follow and so nice to have you back!
Kindest regards,

  lukemeddings wrote @

Hi Vicky, many thanks for your good wishes and that lovely saying. I’m really enjoying hearing about teaching families, and the kind thoughts from yourself and everyone else who has commented here are making me feel warm and positive.

  Rick wrote @

Hi Luke,

I’m sorry to hear the sad news, as I’m sure are all those who have read and commented here.

As for teaching running in the family, I guess my sister and I are the first generation of teachers in the family – she is (or better, was, as she’s currently working on her PhD studying bats) a biology teacher, and I’ve fallen in love with ELT.

Welcome back to the blogging world. We’re here for anything you may need. 🙂



  lukemeddings wrote @

Hi Henrick,thanks so much.Yes,there has to be a first generation too!I’m pretty sure mum was the first teacher in her family.

  Mike Harrison wrote @

Very sorry to hear about your mother, Luke, and I echo the thoughts of commenters above – your mother sounds like a wonderful person.

As for teaching running in the family, try this out:
I teach ESOL; my mother is an unqualified teacher (that is the real name of the post, by the way) of maths; my father is a media resources officer; my brother is a (relatively) new PE teacher, and his girlfriend teaches history; my grandmother ran a nursery and has more recently taught EFL at the language school across the road!!

Wishing you all the best


  lukemeddings wrote @

Hi Mike,many thanks for this.Any shop talk at family gatherings?I love the idea of you and your grandmother in adjacent ELT classrooms.

  Mike Harrison wrote @

Not really any shop talk per se, although at my brother’s for a bbq yesterday, with a fair contingent of teachers there was some talk about jobs, etc. You may laugh, but my grandma and I actually did once teach over the road at the same time!

  lukemeddings wrote @

Well yes there is that kind of shop talk. Especially in this climate. I’m not laughing, but I am smiling – I think that’s great. And the way pensions are going we might be teaching alongside our grandchildren!

  Simon Greenall wrote @

Hi Luke,

Really sorry to hear about your mother. I think she would have appreciated this thoughtful and moving post.


  lukemeddings wrote @

Thanks Simon. Did me best!

  lclandfield wrote @

Good to see your posts appearing again Luke. Sorry to hear your sad news. Your mother sounds like a great person. My mother was also a teacher, so was my father. Interesting how these things run in the family.

  lukemeddings wrote @

Thanks Lindsay, on both counts. I’m wondering how many other teaching families are out there!

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