Day 17 – Thoughts on Education

To be honest, i’m not sure how someone can be negative about education……I mean, who actually doesn’t want to be educated and aware of how the world works and why?

I had interesting times at school. I would say overall I enjoyed it, the places, the learning – not necessarily the people and the lack of confidence in myself or the stress I put myself under at the time for something which really, isn’t that big of a deal.

I’d like to share some fun stories from my school times throughout my life, about teachers who have inspired me and things which have shaped my views and behaviours! I have already spoken about let’s say, less than positive points in my learning, not being very confident, being bullied and the like but for this, I’d like to share snippets of stories which have had a positive influence on my life and the person I am. I hope that this shows my thoughts on Education and that also not all education is book learning based.

England – Tower Rd Primary School – Mr Pike – such a great teacher, who I don’t actually think was MY teacher at any point but he was definitely a massive influence and someone who made me question the world, and have a thirst for knowledge of how things worked and their places in the world overall. I’m lucky enough to have now found Mr Pike on social media and despite the fact he and I differ on a lot of views and opinions, I cannot thank him enough for being that first teacher who made me feel open to the world.

There are other great teachers that I had at Tower Rd but I cannot remember them all, there was the teacher who put up with myself a best friend acting out scenes from Monty Python, the art teacher who tried again and again to make me an artist, the piano teacher who couldn’t actually play piano, the teacher who let me take the school rabbit home for the holidays and even the English teacher who helped me with my squint and the stupid glasses/patches I had to wear. These people have all made me the person I began my life as (well, the first 11 years lets say) and that gave me a good base to work from.

I passed my 11+ (for younger readers, ask your parents) and went to the local girls grammar school, this was a strange few years for me as it was stressful at home, a bit disjointed with family life and a very sad time in our home and family. I found myself being bullied by some really awful human beings and thankfully the school librarian Miss Gallagher seemed to understand so she encouraged me, let me go in during the holidays to help out, made me feel comfortable and always willing to give new ideas/suggestions for someone who wanted to read everything. She genuinely got me interested in so many random things, plus was one of the first people I knew who was veggie/vegan leaning and I got a lot of info about things which interested her. I liked that she always treated me like an equal, as opposed to a student.

Mr and Mrs Ross were an epic teaching couple, he taught English and she taught Science (I cannot for the life of me remember which specific one) and in the years I was back in the High school after Spain were year heads. I was certain that they hated me – ok this is a bit dramatic, i’m pretty sure they didn’t hate me but I felt like they tolerated me, the fact I had come back off my own back and not gone through the standard system made me feel very out there and an oddity – but in the end of my time back in the sixth form I found them both to be really lovely supportive and made me Miss smiles in the U6 – how the heck that happened i have no idea!! Even she said when giving me the award that other people had brought up how positive as a person I was……I still to this day think they might have confused me with someone else!!

Moving to Spain when I was 14 was stressful and to begin with, I genuinely cannot remember anything about my teachers that I liked, there were ones who most definitely treated me differently due to the fact I was English. My language was not good enough in that first year and some issues did happen but as i’m trying to be positive I’m just going to focus on the fun teachers.

My favourite teacher, and actually someone who even then I considered more of a friend than a teacher was Vicente, my art teacher for the last year or so of Spanish school. He made us watch films and do creative projects and was always open to just learn about people. He and I shared a very similar music taste which as I was very singular whilst there, really helped me feel less weird. I can remember when a favourite band of both of ours brought out a new album, we knew there would be 1 copy in the music store in Malaga and both had plans to get it before the other. Running through a mall to beat a middle aged man to a quality album is a memory that will stay with me forever.

I’m actually really happy as Vicente and I are still friends, he keeps popping up in my life and I love seeing his gallery shows and the way his life has taken him. Am pleased he still accepts me for me though, he’s still incredibly encouraging – despite my general inability to do anything arty!!

The last teacher I will talk about is one who was a good teacher to me but a great show of how people power can have an effect, probably the first time I’ve ever seen that work in person.

The spanish teaching system is generally based on 1 year contracts, every new teaching student will be sent from school to school to hone their skills and our Music and religion teacher was actually brilliant and when we heard that he had been moved onto his next school we all felt like we would be detrimentally affected by this so the decision was made to have a student strike. We superglued all the doors and main school gates for a few days to no avail so then decided to actually have a sit out, we would refuse to go to classes until he was brought back.

To be honest, this was (and still sort of is) totally odd to me, I fully expected to be out there for say 20 mins before the teachers would just barrel out and order us inside with our tails between our legs……so 4 hours later I was getting cold and more importantly bored. I went home, deciding it would be better to at least do some homework or the like. Cue walking into the house to tell mum why I was home earlier……she totally didn’t believe me so (with my dad – for extra punishment if I was trying it on) frogmarched me down to my school gates to find out what I was on about…….EVERYONE was gone. I’ve never been so nervous in my life, bloody typical, I decided i’d had enough and went home, then the teachers had finally snapped and got everyone inside. I was cacking myself!!

Thankfully upon going inside the school I saw the school secretary who seemed surprised I was there, I explained why I was and her response to my parents at least made them see I was telling the truth. Scary but fun nonetheless.

We never did get that teacher back I don’t think but it certainly made me more likely to revolt in future about things I saw an issue with. Sometimes, lessons like that are invaluable.

I hope over the course of these little stories have given my opinion clearly, I loved learning – I still do – and I honestly feel it’s people like this who gave me this feeling and inspired me to always try more and learn more and see more.

I should also point out that there were a multitude of teachers I haven’t talked about, all good in their own way and therefore should not be ignored. I am immensely proud of my schooling and the person I have turned out to be, and I can only hope they feel the same way!

 

 

 

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