Teaching is my families other profession. My mother, sister and various cousins all taught for a living. So by adding their memories to mine I’ve seen schools evolve from 1948 to now. The world my mother entered is probably unrecognisable now. At teacher training college after the war, the college held one dance per term. The RAF officer cadets from a nearby training school were invited.
Young ladies sat along one wall of the dance floor, young gentlemen sat down the opposite wall. The RAF officer commanding and the Lady College Principal sat on the stage, each with their second in command to act as a runner. Should a gentleman wish to dance with a lady, he would go up onto the stage, ask his officer commanding, who would in turn ask the principal, who would send her second in command to collect the young lady in question. They would be formally introduced and thus were allowed to dance together.
The college also has a small number of sitting rooms. If a young gentleman arrived and was either the brother of the student, or came armed with a strongly worded letter from the young lady’s parents, she was allowed to entertain him to afternoon tea. The sitting rooms of course had no doors.
My mother and one other teacher (neither over twenty) with the assistance of an elderly single lady who was the ‘infant help’ used to take two classes of the youngest children on a farm visit. They walked the three-quarters of a mile. One hundred children, three adults, children in column of twos, holding hands with a teacher at the front, another at the back and the help in the middle.
Obviously time moves on. One of the ladies of our family taught at a school where there was a ‘safeguarding incident’. Both the union and the local education authority closed ranks to blame it on the headmaster who had a nervous breakdown and had to take early retirement. Apparently (and remember I was not there at the time) in the meeting after to formally smooth over any cracks, my kinswoman told them what she thought of them. In short sentences. One can see the influence of my maternal grandparents at times. In our family we rarely take prisoners and if we do it’s not for peaceful purposes.
My own schooldays lacked drama. I always felt semi-detached from the classroom, almost like an anthropologist who is studying a strange indigenous people that has recently been brought to his attention. I think one of the few times I attracted attention was when it was discovered I had no idea about the rules of soccer. I was perhaps six or seven at this time, and the only sport I’d really seen was rugby on the TV, because there was a spell of televising evening games. These happened to be at a time when my father had finished milking and so could get to see them.
But the reason for all these reminiscences is that a friend and fellow blogger has published a book set in the world of education. Given she comes well recommended (and not just by me,) I thought I’d mention it.
It’s called, “Examining Kitchen Cupboards” by Stevie Turner. Buy it today because it’s on offer at just £0.99/$0.99 for the day of launch.
As a reviewer commented, “Stevie Turner never disappoints. From her fictional family sagas to her nonfiction, and mystery/thrillers, she knows how to keep a reader engaged. In this telling book, Turner takes us into a story, which begins with Jill Hayes – a college examinations admin whose curiosity leads to her discovery that something is awry with the exams given to high school students for their college entrance exams – the questions are much too junior for the high school age level students, making it a cinch for them to get accepted to college. As Jill delves deeper into the basis for such juvenile questions, her life becomes threatened and we’re taken into a whole other world of corporate greed at the expense of students’ education and government funding.
Jill’s personal investigations lead right to the higher ups involved in the ring, and through the unveiling of her findings, we are led into the private lives of these criminals and colourful characters, spreading beyond the discoveries into international crime, lies, affairs and ultimately, murder.
Based on a factual occurrence of the exam findings, this book had me engrossed on the topic itself, but Turner takes the situation to a whole new level with the plot and intrigue created in this story. A fun, short and engrossing read for a cosy thriller reading escape.