Monday, 16 July 2012

We Don't Need No Education?

Our daughter is about to finish her second year of Primary school and we are in awe of what the teachers have helped her to achieve.  There are so many moments that we want to wrap up and hold on to: stories written with the most hilarious spellings (and mostly involving wolves having their stomachs cut open to allow villagers to escape...), drawings of us all holding hands and early attempts at times tables.  She is in her element and we are loving watching her learn.  This is rubbing off on our son - he loves the fact he has 'lessons' at pre-school and can't wait to join his sister so that he can have his own book bag and uniform.

In my last years at senior school it would be fair to say that I didn't care too much for education.  I left with a couple of A's but also a couple of F's and a few other letters inbetween.  I started work on my 16th birthday in a fruit and veg shop that paid £68 a week cash in hand.  I thought I was loaded and very much enjoyed attempting to pay for half a lager & lime with a £50 note at the local pub.  The landlord did not share my hilarity but liked the money me and my friends brought in so we were tolerated.   It didn't take long however for me to realise that spending my days in a green and white tabard serving bananas to bodybuilders and potatoes to pensioners was not going to get me very far.  This was further underlined by friends popping in during my shift and bellowing "Have you got any caulies?!" much to the dismay of my manager.  There's nothing like shrieking 16 year olds to scare away the high-spending old ladies.
BCoT and its beautiful, big purple sign!

So I enrolled at college where I was completely won over.  Not only could I choose subjects based on what I thought I'd like to study but you were also allowed to call the teachers by their first names - winner.  The most important thing for me though was that it gave me a chance to enjoy learning again.  Sitting in a class with a group of people who have chosen to attend is a very different sensation to being in a class 'because you have to'.  There was a slight hiccup though, in that having completed my 'A' Levels (and re-sat my Maths GCSE), I asked the careers advisor what I could do next.  Her response was 'you can apply for university'.  This was not an option as I needed to earn some money but fortunately she enrolled me on a secretarial course where I learned how to turn up on time and touch-type and before the end of the first year I had my first 'proper' job.

Because of the teachers at Basingstoke College of Technology, I rediscovered the pleasure of learning, and gained practical skills that set me on a path to opportunities and experiences I couldn't have imagined as a sullen 16 year old.  I thank them for setting me right.

Our children are at the very beginning of their journey.  I know that there will be ups and downs in their time at school, and whether they choose to become academics or apprentices, roofers or rockstars, I will work my hardest to keep and encourage the love of learning that they have today for the rest of their lives.

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