Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Past Tense

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Past Tense

Article excerpt

The boomerang. A simple enough concept, you might think, although perhaps not so simple if you've ever flung one skywards and expected it to come back to you.

But that's the real thing. It was the boomerang as metaphor that TES covered in these pages a couple of months back ("Now I am the master", Feature, 24 October). It's a straightforward scenario: sent out into the world after your studies, you end up gravitating towards your old school as a teacher.

I found myself reading the article with a growing sense of recognition. In my case, the boomerang experience was also the very first class I ever taught. It's a real challenge when you have to stand up in front of a group of strangers and convince yourself - before you can even attempt to convince them - that you are a fit and proper person to play the role of teacher. It doesn't help when this is taking place in the very same room where you began your career at "big school" as a quivering 11-year-old.

I arrived uncharacteristically early for my ordeal. Not a lot had changed: the bare walls, the shabby desks with their antique carvings, the roll-around blackboard. It was an A-level literature class and I had prepared two war poems for the students to discuss. For some reason, I had convinced myself that they would all just sit there and refuse to say a word.

The first student arrived. She was at least 20 years older than me. "Hello," I said. "I'm your teacher."

She gave me look that said "Who do you think you're kidding, sonny boy?", before replying: "And I'm your first student."

There was worse to come. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.