I hated history…

…when I was at school. I seriously believe that the approach or attitude imposed by a teacher, can make or break a possible career choice. Of course, many subjects may quite easily be dropped or flunked without realising that they could be interesting in later life. For instance, I screwed up Latin & Art. But I’ve never felt pangs of regret about those.

I studied history at a school in Southend-on-Sea, where my first year’s experience of history, at the age of 11, was a teacher who had some very odd methods of teaching. It’s a real shame – as I now know that he really did know his stuff, as he has written several books – and he was, after all, head of history at the school too.

Those sorry teaching methods consisted of:

  • Making us listen to a recording he had made of himself the night before, lecturing the class, whilst he did marking or something else at the front of the class.
  • Copying down maps from the projector – or simply tracing them through normal paper. What was the point of that?
  • But the worst was the insistence that we must not use ballpoint pens. It had to be a fountain pen. This caused me more trouble than anything else. Why? Because my dad got in a right rage about it when I asked them to buy me one, as he – quite rightly – thought it was pretty darned ridiculous.

So if there are any teachers reading this, who like kids to do things their way – simply because they are sticklers for perfection – think before you put someone off of a subject – if not for life – but for their formative years.

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