About Thinks

Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.

These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.

These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.

Think long, think on.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

DOWN with pencils!

I was lucky enough to gain my Teaching education from a legend. Harry Hood was not only my literacy lecturer but my final year practicum supervisor and he had many great insights to share.

One of the many things I gained from him was his ideas surrounding the pencil. Like all things good, he assumes competence in learners. He convinced me that emerging writers are perfectly capable of using a pen. As adults we use pens, why should children have watered down tools?

I know that there are some of you out there that love the feel of a freshly sharpened pencil and enjoy using them. I won't take that away from you. However, I am not a pencil lover. I never have been. I struggle with a blunt eyeliner on a daily basis and frankly, that's all the pencil action I need.

So out I bounced fresh from teacher's college with an enormous amount of ideas running around my head. I jumped into various teaching roles when I learned very quickly to toe the line for a while before creating the waves. The pencil vs pen debate was the least of my worries.

Then today it hit me. Owing to a school wide 'understanding' the children in my school are not allowed to use pens! Pencils are the BANE OF MY LIFE! How could I let this happen? Why have I put up with this for all these years?

My kids use tools such as smartphones, ipads, laptops, computers and video cameras. My kids create movies, they blog and skype so why are they not allowed to use a PEN?!

It's time to take action. DOWN WITH PENCILS!

1. Pencils WASTE time (breaking, sharpening etc)

2. Pencils are EXPENSIVE (a box of 20 pencils costs $16.95 a box of 50 pens costs $14.95 ). Yes, you can get cheaper ones but any teacher in my position will tell you, the cheap ones waste even more time (see point 1). As far as ethics goes pens and pencils are created in the same sweatshops.

3. Pencils are magical - they can disappear into a void after having owned one for less than an hour.

4. Pencils DO NOT celebrate mistakes. Their main feature is the ability to rub out mistakes.

5. Pencil lovers believe that pens look 'messy' in children's writing books.  I'm sorry, but those teachers need to focus on the DEEPER features of our children's writing.

6. Pencils have a mystique about them that they are somehow green and natural.  They're not. They are made out of rain forest trees just like most of your wooden classroom equipment and tools.

Next week I'm going to do something a little wild.  Let's see if my kids can put a stop to this nonsense before the end of the year!


  1. the only time I use pens these days are for university exams but that's another rant altogether

  2. You go girl! I agree totally and have fought for the pencil ban but most are against me. I hate erasers and hide them or throw them in the bin if I find one :-). I break all the rules much to the horror of some on the rare occasion someone takes notice. Haven't lost my job yet! I will watch your class with interest! Mel

  3. hmm ... i wonder what would happen if i banned pencils in my classroom ... like the post - thanks

  4. I used pens with year twos in my first year of teaching. Then I made the mistake of announcing my success in a staff meeting :-(

    "but how will the year 5/6 earn their pen license?"
    "pens skid around too much, kids can't control them"
    "how do they erase mistakes"
    "you can't do that anymore, it's against school policy" (still is)

    I think that's when I discovered that, to many, systems and rules were more important that student outcomes (still are)

  5. I never earned my pen license writing but then my is still appalling so I doubt I ever will.

  6. They are great for drawing with providing great tonal variation. But agreed it's a waste of time writing with them.