I recently turned 40 and as with many who have reach this milestone I have spent time reflecting on what has influenced my views on life. In particular the parallels of the challenges I faced with those that concern the young people of this generation. The presentation above is a visual representation of that journey, it takes a few minutes to load (and can be made full screen by clicking on the more button) but has some memorable moments from the last 40 years.
My formative years were spent in Liverpool; I attended the same schools as John Lennon (of Beatles fame), lived just off Penny Lane and experienced the tough realities of an economy in a deep recession. I distinctly remember the Toxteth riots, very high unemployment and industrial action that paralysed whole industries. It was these difficult years that made it clear to me the importance of education, not just in the traditional sense of achieving ‘good’ grades but the wider skills of independence, team work and building resilience to life’s challenges. I believe that the habits of working hard and not settling for second best are just as important now as they were in the 70s and 80s; they are core to our approach to education at Catmose College.
My love of technology and its ability to more effectively communicate and solve problems began with my purchase of a ZX Spectrum 48k. A computer that I had spent a year saving my pocket money for. It introduced me to computer programming, a skill which has helped me throughout my career and one which we will be teaching formally at the College from next year.
It was a Physics teacher who convinced me that I could go onto university; an experience I would highly recommend to all who can. The alternative to university for me was a low skilled job, or no job at all; a similar choice for many young people leaving school at the moment. I studied Computer Science and Physics for three years and the love of these subjects led me to training as a teacher, believing that education is the way to give people life chances that would other wise be beyond their reach.
The love of technology which influenced my childhood continued to influence me as a teacher, I was one of the first to use an interactive computer driven board, an article for Anglia TV gave me my first five minutes of fame. I continue to believe that new technologies should be something that teachers and students should be able to use as easily as they do a text book or a light switch. The design of our technology systems at the College reflect this philosophy, staff and students are all able to access computers, cameras and iPads as easily as they can access a book from our library.
I continue to believe in the importance of challenging myself, the experience of a bungee jump in New Zealand was a once in a life-time opportunity and will be one I will always remember. I hope that Catmose College through our sports, performing arts and electives programme will give our students similarly memorable experiences. The electives give our students the opportunity to learn a new skill, to challenge themselves and perhaps something they will find a life long love for.
Finally, my two children continue to be my touch stone for decisions that I make as a head; I always ask the question would it be good enough for my own children; if it is not good enough for them, how could it be for anyone else’s child?