TLC…… THE TENDER LOVING CARE OF TEACHING, LEARNING, AND THE CHILD.
When I was a child, there were two constants in my life….I loved learning; and I hated school. The two were apparently incompatible – with a couple of notable exceptions.
In my Primary school it was George Breeze, the music teacher. The first time I had a lesson with him I sat reluctantly at the piano, waiting for instructions, Instruction! But he simply asked me what I wanted from music, and what it would be like when I got it. Sharing that with Mr Breeze crystallised it in my own head, and also made me feel comfortable…..in rapport with myself as well as with him.
I could always relate to the music itself, so then I really wanted to learn to play the piano.
The other thing I loved about Mr Breeze was a very strange phenomenon……I never felt he was telling me how to do things:- it was more as if he was reminding me of something I already knew; and he seemed to sense if I was ready to start our lesson………he’d always get me to sing first, and I realised many years later that he could tell by what I sang what emotional state I was in.
He also knew that the very act of singing always made me feel good. So then he’d ‘request’ a song that was up-tempo, or allow improvisation: and like magic, I was happy, confident, ready to absorb new learning!
In my Secondary school my saviour was the English teacher, Molly Gayford, who became Mrs Korner. We shared a mutual love of words, books; and we both wanted me to be the best writer in the world! She was like a friend, a mentor, who I really wanted to please.
She knew that I was bored unless I was stretched; that I learned best when I was showing others how to do it. She seemed to have a sense that I would never follow procedures, so she gave me options. She also told me it was okay for me to dare, to be different, to do something new, to walk my own road.
She never asked me to plan, to tell her in advance what I would write…….she knew intuitively that my strategy even then was to plant ideas, words, titles, in my unconscious, and that when it was ready, or “cooked” as I used to call it, I would HAVE to sit down and write.
She accepted my pattern, my strategy, of diversionary and delaying tactics, and in fact would use the way I worked instead of trying to force me into a standard pattern.
So with George, learning was a Breeze! And with Molly I never felt Kornered! I was free to grow, to learn, to reach my potential and the outcomes I wanted, which they each helped me to define, and to achieve.
To me school was about being the same………I was about being different.
They were two fantastic teachers because they were willing to facilitate my learning in my own way; and so they got the best out of me, and I got the best out of education!