It’s true that a great FE tutor or experience can change lives. I went to college in 1993, aged 23. I had given up a full time job, on an above average wage, as a credit controller. The problem was, I had no interest in Maths or ringing people! But I masked this at work, and did well. But one day. I decided to apply to college to do my A Levels, as a mature student. It was here, that I started to see that I had the potential to do something else.
This was thanks to two tutors; Ros Bates and Pam Lonsdale at the Basingstoke College of Technology. They saw something within me and nurtured me, every step of the way. They encouraged me to apply for University and I went aged 25, petrified but eager. I read Journalism and also decided that I wanted to teach. I chose London as my destination, thanks to these excellent tutors, as they wanted me to aim as high, as I could do.
Following my degree at City University, I did a PGCE at Greenwich, and then moved to Manchester in 2000, for a teaching post. I love teaching, coaching and writing reviews, and these two two amazing tutors are in my debt. They not not only had passion for what they did, they would teach the person, not the class.
If it wasn’t for my inspirational experience in F.E, I would still be using number and phoning people, as a credit controller. There would be nothing wrong with this, but I really thought that was all I could do. I had a nagging feeling that I could do more, but I needed guidance and self belief. And my experience FE did that and so much more. I never dreamed that I would be coaching teachers, when I was at college, as I was naive as the title character in Willy Russell’s Educating Rita.
Pam Lonsdale died a few years ago, and it upset me, as she was such a great tutor and a real guiding force for me. But, after reflecting on the impact she and Ros Bates had on my life, I wondered how many other young people’s lives had changed for the better since being taught by these tutors. It must be 100’s of people.
If I can have half the impact on my students’ lives, as these two have, I will be a very lucky man.