Wednesday, July 6, 2011

College Friends for Life

Earlier this week one of my old college friends posted a link on his Facebook page to a Ken Robinson TED that I also happen to use in my Schools and Society course at St. Mike's. Philip, the friend who posted it, and I went to St. Matthias College in Bristol England in the late 60s and early 70s. As the FB thread developed he remarked on how our college days had been so formative in the way we perceived Education, and probably the world in general, for the rest of our lives.

As I recall the classes and experiences I had as a student at St. Matthias I can trace the origins of many of the educational ideas I believe in today. I even remember some of the names from those halcyon days such as Mr. Pennycad, Mrs. Husband, Miss Graham and Mr Wright. I remember vividly the first classroom experience I had where the teacher I was assigned to told me, on the third day, to walk into the classroom after morning recess, clap my hands twice and tell the 34 third grade students to sit down and listen. My first act as a teacher was a success!

I also remember the incredibly active social lives we led in a time when students carried the social conscience of the world. There were sit-ins or lie-ins almost every week for some cause or other. We also played sports such as cricket, soccer and badminton. We even played croquet which was always taken very seriously. One evening, we actually staked out a rather annoying fellow student by hammering croquet hoops over his arms and legs so he couldn't move. I seem to remember someone releasing him at about 4a.m. the following morning!

My FB friends list is full of old college friends now dispersed around the world but I bet if you spent half an hour talking education with each one there would be some common themes that kept returning because of the common incredible experiences we gained at that great little college. I'm sure the same is true of St. Mike's graduates.

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