Some months ago my wife and I were out for lunch with a gentleman from our church. His name is Fred. My wife knows him quite well through her voluntary work, however this was the first time I had really spent time getting to know him. Fred, now well into his eighties, was in his time a craftsman, a joiner, a coffin maker, and, eventually, a teacher.
As both my wife and I have been in education, our discussion that day turned quite quickly to teaching. And so it was that we ended up talking about Fred's "remedial class" over a mid-week discount carvery at the local pub. It's his favourite, "Keeps me going all week for a fiver." he says.
Fred is clearly keen to discuss his time as a teacher, and it is obvious that he still takes a lot of pleasure and professional pride in his work. I, on the other hand, am much less keen on the topic of conversation. My inner historian is always looking out for the educational prejudices to emerge, especially from someone who taught during the progressive, Piaget-inspired 60s and 70s. As the conversation turns to how Fred was given the task of getting his "remedial" class reading, I am in a somewhat sceptical frame of mind.