August 11, 2004

these I have taught

To mark 40 years of doing teaching of one sort or another – have been going though a little mental list of people who have been on the receiving end:

Secondary girls between aged 11 to 15: Biology and Drama,
Chinese boys, 14 to 19: English grammar;
Mixed Chinese secondary pupils, in classes of 50+: English including 'Pride and Prejudice' (I had the only copy…);
Adult learners of English for University of Hong Kong – evening classes;
Hong Kong Police officers for the Government Training Division: a crammer for English tests;
New arrivals from China (during Cultural Revolution): how to use a sewing machine;
Mixed class of Italian and Iranian pilots: English for special purposes;
Housewives in Witham: 'O' Level Sociology;
Mixed adults, Open University: Social Studies Foundation course;
Male inmates in Norfolk prisons: Sociology;
American airmen and women, for the University of Maryland in UK: Social Divisions and Sociology of Education;
Undergraduates at University of Essex, Gender and Employment;
European Social Funded projects: Assertiveness for women;
Community workers and employees of Employment Services: Adult Guidance skills:
UEA mixed undergraduates: work-based skills….

I'm exhausted just trying to remember all this stuff, but, luckily, Iím nearly up to the point where I came to Warwick and everything became much more sensible….......

Itís made me think though – has teaching actually been my career? Even though I never wanted to be a teacher, have never described myself as a teacher and have done many other kinds of work?

- 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. It sounds like you have had a very interesting career as a not-teacher! I hope I can look back in 40 years and recall such a wide range of experiences. I am on my way to becoming a maths teacher, but I refuse to end up whiling away my life in a tweed jacket in some stuffy old place forever. I want to spread my seed (of knowledge) to as many souls as possible in as many interesting ways as possible!

    11 Aug 2004, 19:17

  2. Hello Kay

    Missing you and so browsing your blog log. How amazing to have influenced so many people! Bit of an awesome responsibility really – who knows what you may have unwittingly unleashed on the world! However, I wonder if the resistance to the terminology of 'teacher' is because that language has overtones of relaying information, and perhaps of 'static expertise'. I view you more as an enabler, inspirer, giver of confidence and helping others unleash their own creativity. Good teachers will do this it is true, but you have moved beyond the more narrow definition I gave at the outset. Perhaps the secret is that you have shifted the experience from a passive one of 'being taught' to a proactive exploration that comes with 'learning'. In learning, both parties have the opportunity and experience of growth and both will be the richer for it.

    If you find this comment either pretentious or inapplicable, worry not. Accidents will happen and at least you have your milletts catalogue to distract you from you contemplations come the weekend.

    have a nice day.


    16 Aug 2004, 12:27

  3. I think this is a lovely comment, maybe inapplicable, but absolutely sums up what I think about the whole teaching/learning thing…. if this is what a teacher is, them I'm definitiely up for it!

    17 Aug 2004, 12:52

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