Thursday, May 29, 2014

St. Matthias

Tomorrow, May 30, 2014, marks the final gathering of past students where I completed my undergraduate studies, the College of St. Matthias in Bristol England. The college opened in `853 and was one of the first in England designed specifically to train teachers. For over 100 years it trained women teachers to work in state run C. of E., as they were known, school (Church of England). I first attended the College in 1972, three years after it went co-ed, after training unsuccessfully to be a quantity surveyor. I decided I wanted to be a teacher after playing for several years on a mixed field hockey team that was comprised almost exclusively of primary school teachers, and what a fun-loving bunch they were.

I was accepted at the college to study primary education and geography. Even in those far off days primary (elementary) teachers were required to have an academic major. Throughout my four years there, three for a teaching certificate and one extra for a B.Ed., I was active in college politics, sports and music. I was the Public Relations Officer for the student body which meant that every week we had to publish the college paper called the Spectrum. We had to type it out on special carbon paper and then put it on a printing machine that we turned by hand; it was always a ruch to make the Friday noon deadline. We covered some pretty excitiing events during the time I was there such as a World Cup in 1970, several  student sit-ins and all sorts of sporting and music events.

Like most of us I look back on my college days with great happiness and now realize just how good a job the lecturers did in preparing us for a future in the world of teaching. Many of the beliefs and values I formed those 40-something years ago are still so applicable and important today. I keep up with many of my old college friends thro ugh social media and Ade George's Old Lags site as they have scattered around the world. Most are now retired but seem to have led happy working lives.

The college closed as a teacher training institution in the 1980s and became part of the University of the West of England. Within months the dear old halls of residence will be flattened to make way for a housing development but at least the historically listed buildings will be preserved as a Steiner school..  

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