Sunday, 9 November 2014

A Student-Teacher

When I was 14, our biology teacher informed us that we would be having a student teacher in charge of us for several weeks, as part of his Diploma of Education. He was a young Australian: I don't remember his name. We weren't the best-behaved of classes, and he didn't keep much control: people used to flick gravel from the fish tanks about the room when his back was turned. His main claim to our attention was that he was a top-class athlete: a long-distance runner. In retrospect it's plain that he was only doing a postgraduate Dip. Ed. at Cambridge in order to get his "blue".
      But he was a good sort of bloke, and we liked him; so when we were warned that he was going to be inspected teaching us, we took pity on him. We told him that we'd read up the lesson beforehand in our text-books, and when he asked questions we'd all put our hands up - those with the rights hands up knew then answer; those with the left hands up didn't know the answer, but were just wanting to look keen. It all went well, and we heard that the inspector had complimented him on the enthusiasm he had managed to instill in the class.
     He continued with us for the rest of term, but he knew it was no use trying to teach us anything, and we just chatted about rugby for the remaining lessons. And he did all right by us, because on sports day he brought along his mate Herb Elliott, the great Australian Olympic champion, to present the trophies. So we may not have learnt much biology from him, but I still remember him with affection.

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