Ramblings of a Displaced Cockney February 2019 

DISPLACED COCKNEY8th February 2019

as published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine



I was in teaching for my whole working life and taught in just about all bits of secondary education, covering the state and independent schools, inner city comprehensives, further and adult education, and sixth form colleges
I have never distinguished in any way between students and always wanted and expected the best for them and demanded a full commitment from them as their side of the bargain
When I was younger I always found learning easy and the downside of that was that I never really put everything into my studies as I was so committed to extra-curricular activities centred around the Boys’ Brigade, football, athletics, and chess
It was only when I was working fulltime that I decided that I really enjoyed physics (despite already having a degree in physics, maths. and electronics) and I wanted to prove something to myself. So, I took on a part-time Masters Degree in Solid-State Physics at what is now City University in London. Of course, I was a bit busy with work, and being married and running a BB Company and still being involved in sport. The plus was that I had to revisit the whole concept of learning to learn as I had to prepare for some very serious exams with very little time available. It worked out just fine but it was an important lesson which I could apply to my teaching
I developed techniques and routines of constant practice and building up structures which grew in scale and complexity as the courses developed. Revision became something that was integrated into the teaching scheme from day one, not something that only happened in the run up to exams. It might have seemed like hard work to start with for the students but as their confidence grew it would become second nature
A classic illustration of this was a few years ago when I had to contribute to teaching a second year A level physics class as their regular teacher was having some health problems. I just approached things the way that I always did
However, on results day that year, I was surrounded by the students from that class. “We’ve got a bone to pick with you” they said. “When you started teaching us you said that we had to do more practice and have regular tests on the whole course and use new learning strategies. In fact we had to do more work altogether!” There was a pause to let me absorb this complaint
Then came their moment of triumph: “Well . . . . we all got grade A passes anyway!”
There was of course only one response that I could make, so I said “ANYWAY?”
Hopefully it was an important life lesson. Yes we should all aim high and want success in whatever form is important to us, but we have to do our own part and work to make it happen!