Sunday, 6 November 2011

Educating Essex.

Training has been going on well, despite the cold and gloomy weather. I'm really grateful to my coach, Ken Day, for turning out to help me 6 days a week. He is so dedicated and I appreciate him. In these increasingly cold evenings I have been finding that my toes and fingertips have been freezing during training. However, I have discovered some excellent inner gloves made by Karrimor so I have solved the fingertip problem. Working on the toe problem.

Yesterday I went to Harlow Leisurezone to do my strength and conditioning work and it was great to work with John Campbell again. John is one of those instructors who pushes you to your limits, which is exactly what I need. Put it this way, after a session with John you know you have worked!

I have been watching 'Educating Essex' on Channel 4 with great interest because Passmores School is literally just around the corner from my house. A few years ago I was invited to the school to present awards to the children and I found everyone involved really friendly. There was a real family atmosphere to the school that I liked and the Head, Mr Goddard, went out of his way to support me. As a trained teacher myself, albeit one who has only ever taught in Kenya, I found the behaviour of the staff and students very interesting to observe. In Kenya there was nothing like detentions and counselling when a student makes a mistake, it was just a matter of how many strokes of the cane were dished out! In Kenya everyone believes in; 'Spare the rod, spoil the child'. If you were thrashed at school you would be thrashed again at home by your parents for disrespecting the teacher. How different things are here. I really admired the way Mr Drew dealt with the students. To me he is an excellent teacher who really cares about the students he teaches and there didn't seem to be any problem he couldn't deal with. He was just so calm and never seemed to lose his temper even when provoked. Mr Goddard, the Head, was equally impressive in the way he went about his work and who could imagine seeing such a powerful man crying on national television. I really admired that because he showed a very positive side of his character in that incident and he should be seen as a role model by other professional people. The students who featured in the series, in spite of all their problems, will look back at themselves and it will make them better people.

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