I Love The Thought of Coming Home To You: British teachers acknowledge their debt to Simply Red

Mick Hucknall and his cylinder of knowledge and skills.
Mick Hucknall and his cylinder of knowledge and skills.
“A round of applause and a toast for love.”

Ghost of Love by Simply Red

Ask any teacher about love (in the staffroom or car park) and they’ll more than likely quote lyrics to you from songs by Simply Red. For the last fifty years, Simply Red have been entertaining teachers with their songs of love. In fact, Mick Hucknall’s dalliance with the Labour Party is mostly due to his courting of and affection for the teaching profession.

Teachers of a particular age will remember with wry fondness the early 80’s ‘battle’ between Mick Hucknall and Jimmy Sommerville (from the Communards) for the hearts and minds of teachers throughout the United Kingdom. In fact, what is popularly thought to be their common predilection for ‘singing high’ is actually an almost violent aural face-off for the ear-drums of teachers in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Cornwall.

When the National Curriculum was launched (in a branch of Robert Dyas in the late 80’s) it was no coincidence that ‘Holding Back the Years’ was chosen as its theme tune. Many thought this a reference to standards and progression, whereas in fact Mick Hucknall was subliminally bemoaning years wasted in the Secret Garden making papier mache badger masks and stuff like that.

Ever the advocate of best practice in education, Mick has been a vocal supporter of the three-part maths lesson. ‘Something Got Me Started’ is actually about mental starters. When he sings “I give it all up for you”, he is really referring to the radical shift from drilling particular operational techniques in favour of a greater understanding of place value. For many teachers, this paradigmatic manoeuvre was made all the more palatable by replanning their units to the strains of ‘Something Got Me Started’.

“I love the thought of giving hope to you. Just a little ray of light shining through.” When Carol Dweck first heard these lines (she was in the market for light Drum and Bass), the penny dropped. And, boy, did it drop big time! Is there not a single part of educational history or pedagogical evolution that has not been touched in some way by Mick Hucknall? Fellow teachers, we have all been touched by Mick Hucknall.

Let the music speak for itself, as teachers the world over share in Mick’s inspirational plea to all students:

“I hope you comprehend.”


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