a writing by Paul Butters

Yorkshire, Wednesday 14th July, 2010. (A Blog).

I am happily retired now. However, to be fair I enjoyed being a Careers Worker for 25 years. (Actually I was a Connexions Personal Adviser at the end). I loved helping people with their future plans. It helped, of course, that I was quite well trained at the then Trent Poly. in 1981. I well recall all those “Video Interviews” etc. They gave me a good helping, counselling interview model (called “The Trent Model”) that worked well in most situations.

However, before entering “careers” I was a secondary English teacher for six years. That was an unmitigated nightmare. On reflection I was not the right sort of personality to enter teacher training at 18. As a teenager I was very shy and introverted. I just hoped that through teaching I could pursue my love of Literature. Wrong.

I cannot remember being “trained” to teach. Two thirds of the course was academic (English Literature in my case) and theoretical (“Education”). The “practical” third was devoted mainly to “teaching practice” out in schools. Actually those “TPs” were really assessments, to get rid of the chaff. The only direct advice about teaching I can remember was from older students who more or less said don’t smile before Easter! We were given outline formats for “lesson plans” but then left to our own devices. I suppose that’s why the National Curriculum was later introduced. When I “trained”, “Progressive Teaching” was all the rage: one tutor recommended “negotiating” with the pupils and “taking them out for walks”! Actually we started out being instructed as Infant or Primary teachers, and then they set up an experimental “Secondary” group. Recall listening to an elderly “Infant” tutor singing to us: “Cock a doodle do!” at the top of her voice.

Still, at least college made me a decent table tennis and football player. And it gave me a degree in my beloved English.

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