Hi! I'm Phil. I teach, I climb and I write.
To begin, if any students read this blog, I do ask that they separate the 'Phil' that they see here from the 'Mr Barker' that exists in their school... Keep it professional, guys.
What the hell do I know?
I personally think that I know and/or have to offer very little. It comes from a deep seeded sense of inadequacy that I have spent my - admittedly still quite few - years trying to blame on anything and everything other than myself. So far I have blamed it on my parents, my siblings, my geographic location, teachers, friends, enemies, the government, alcohol, society in general, the state of the world... the list goes on. And so I will continue - bosses, management, relationships, job descriptions, pets (yep, seriously) and I think I even went through a phase of blaming public transport for persistent lateness.
So why the hell should anyone listen?
Honestly I don't mind if you listen or don't listen. As I would say to a class -
'It's fine if you don't care about this lesson, I just appreciate it if you don't assume everyone else feels the same'.
This sentence tends to calm rebellious kids, but I think the reminder that my perspective has changed so much over the years calms me more than them. It also makes it easier to ignore when they use strange, inappropriate language and then look at me like Clint Eastwood saying 'what are you lookin' at, punk?' when I try to figure out what the context could possibly have been. I have spent my life assuming that just because I was angry, or bored, or generally unhappy with something that everyone else must also be. It turns out this is incorrect... or at least not quite bang on accurate. I tend to have opinions on things that people find odd but understandable.
It is this perception, and my years of desperately trying to understand why people do the stuff that they do instead of just going along with it that has created an almost alien understanding of life, teaching, writing and my newly discovered hobby/obsession - climbing!
There is also a very lovely schadenfreuden joy in hearing students say sentences such as 'oh, was that the bell? That lesson went fast', or my other favourite 'why don't all teachers just tell us that stuff? It makes sense now!' I'm not saying this happens often - quite far from it. But the fun thing about blogs is that I can weed out all the rubbish and just keep the good ones.
So, this will be the place where I share the answers to those odd questions, express my - often misguided but always well researched - understanding on things and generally just try to get to know the world around me and the people in it that little bit better.
By the way, that dog in my backpack is named Alfie and he is my best friend. He has a younger brother named George who is my wife's and not quite as awesome as Alfie. I didn't want to make my blog focused on my pets but I just turned around and saw this...
Thankyou for reading and hope that this blog can offer you some of whatever it is you were looking for when you started reading it.
Author, Teacher and Climber