A lecturer was recounting a story from her past teaching experience, “I once asked a boy if I would be able to see him dream?” “Yes miss” the boy replied “you’d be able to see smoke coming from my ears!” Smoke billowed from all 120 of us trainee teachers this weekend, as we experienced the natural wonder of Dorset.
Once our lungs had stopped trying to repel the foreign clean air, we embraced the great outdoors, traipsing across fields, marching up mountainsides and touring Castles. We even helped with the annual beach cleanup, a local resident informing us that so far they’d recovered a colostomy bag, false teeth, some crutches and a headless gnome.
It was an educational trip, but also a chance for us to properly socialise. With 14 of us pressed into one dormitory, it was impossible not to. Naturally all the men were together, leading to drunken debauchery, vomiting, misplaced urination and even occasional streaking. The smells emanating from the room would have killed the most resilient of coalmine canaries. Ladies and Gentleman, I present the next generation of teachers.
One group exercise was to create a work of art from the natural environment, which would then be displayed on a neighbouring field. We worked diligently, creating a large abstract from tree bark, berries, grass, flowers and leaves. Unfortunately one of the teachers, Mike, the Outdoor Bounds enthusiast, drove his car right through our artwork. Some cruelly said this improved it.
Mike was a reminder of the sorts of teachers I used to loathe. He was patronising with a permanent self-satisfied grin on his face. I made a note that even if stuck up a mountain with him, I would gladly take my own chances, than listen to his interminable anecdotes. During one of his windswept navigation exercises I remembered the Geography teacher who once wrote on my School Report “Timothy could not find his arse with both hands”.
I very nearly entered Dorset folklore with an ill-timed question during a perilous mountain climb. “Would you definitely die if you were to suddenly fall?” I asked no-one in particular, before suddenly performing a spectacular arse over tit manoeuvre with all the dexterity of a newly born gazelle. My ‘climbing partner’ was too preoccupied to notice my collapse. He’d ratcheted it up to smug-factor 5 and was telling a girl about his ‘Help for Heroes’ wristband, work for charity and love of jazz.
Back in the world of academia I’ve discovered my first School placement is with a Year 1 group ‘in an area of high social and economic disadvantage’. There are six of us from the course at the School next week, each with a different year group. I think I’ve received a large slice of luck. While the others were talking of wearing stab proof vests the worst I should expect is the occasional ankle bite.