Page 9 - ES MAG 2019
P. 9

A lifetime of service

           This year we bid farewell to a number of teachers who have given a lifetime of service for
           thousands of students. We are indebted to them for all they have o ered over the years
           - as Carl Jung said, "one looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with
           gratitude to those who touched our human feelings". At a time when words don't seem
           enough, we asked teachers to reminisce on changes in education, at school and in their
           approach to teaching as they embrace the next stage in their lives.

          Chris Mavromatis

           How many years have you been teaching at the school and  Do you think it’s true that students have changed in the last
           what are the biggest changes you have seen in that time?  2 or 3 decades?
           I have been at the school for 35 years. During this time many  I think this is unavoidable. As society changes, so do the attitudes
           things have changed not least that when I came I was the youngest  and needs of pupils as they develop into the citizens of the future.
           member of sta  at 27 years of age and now I am one of the last of  Consequently, their approach to school and their interaction with
           that generation of English School teachers! In a living organization  their teachers also changes. Clearly there is a philosophical debate
           such as The English School there is constant change and evolu- to be had here if the attitudes of pupils towards education in the
           tion. The School has maintained its traditions and values as  broader sense has changed for the better or for the worse. My
           encapsulated in its Mission Statement whilst changing to meet  own view on this is that we should embrace those aspects which
           the modern educational needs of its pupils. With the exception  contribute positively to a pupil’s education and development;
           of the Main Building, the other buildings did not exist when I came!  and minimize the e ect of those which are unproductive. For
           There was no Sports Centre, no D&T building, a very di erent  example the use of the Internet to gain access to information, to
           version of the Newham Building and no Science Building! Can you  do research, to have access to di erent views, to communicate
           imagine the School without these facilities today? Beyond the  easily with people from around the world adds great value to a
           facilities the way we teach has been revolutionized by technology.  pupil’s educational development. Staying up all night playing
           Here we are not only referring to smart boards, PowerPoint and  games, exposure to extremist propaganda, using social media
           Internet but back to how copies were produced before photo- inappropriately and to bully people; and living in a virtual world
           copiers became readily available, on hand written stencils. Sounds  with no real social contact with actual people are in my opinion
           like the dark ages! None-the-less the School has navigated these  very dangerous. Many years ago, in the early 1990’s my pupils were
           changes successfully over time to provide the all-round education  asking me as a chemist how to make explosives. I responded by
           that its graduates needed to prosper in all walks of life, as demo- saying that since the 1950’s this information was not published
           cratic, free thinking citizens wherever they are found around the  in school text books because many pupils had injured or killed
           world. My hope and wish is that this continues well after I retire. themselves trying to make these. They informed me that every-
                                                            thing you needed to make explosive devices was on the Internet
           How do you feel you have changed as a teacher throughout  and the following day they brought in a 130 page book which not
           your career?                                     only had the way to make the explosives and devices but also
           Like all teachers at the school change through life-long learning  to detonate them remotely using say a telephone! It was quite
           is an essential part of a teacher’s career. The syllabuses I taught  frightening then and I dread to think what is available on the
           when I  rst arrived were heavily knowledge based so recall and  Internet today! Consequently pupils need guidance to navigate
           rote learning were very important for success. There were no  the rapidly changing world they live in and their school has a major
           mark schemes for guidance and no formal sta  training except  role to play in helping the young people in its care to adapt
           support from more experienced colleagues. The way of teaching  positively to the changes going on around them.
           was literally “chalk and talk” with everything written on the board
           in white chalk and when we felt creative we would use coloured  In closing I would like to encourage the stakeholders of the school
           chalk! Fast forward O levels became GCSEs, A levels remained  to forge stronger links with the community through participating
           but changed their format every 5 years from linear to modular  in events, doing charity work and taking initiatives to protect and
           and then back to linear! The teaching changed to meet the needs  improve the environment.
           of the pupils who were now required to show a much broader
           range of knowledge and skills: interpretation, application, data  Finally I would like to wish everyone at the school a productive
           analysis, the importance of new analytical methods and to do  end of the year and an enjoyable summer holiday before they
           extension work. The tools available to teachers changed as well  embark on the next part of their journey!
           as the techniques used to deliver the material required. Luckily
           teachers were helped in their development through formal sta
           training and more support from examination Boards themselves.
           As one would imagine teaching at the school today is very di erent
           to when I arrived in September 1984! Additionally all teachers were
           required to have a much greater awareness of pastoral issues and
           undergo a range of training in areas such as mentoring pupils,
           anti-bullying, drug awareness (including alcohol and smoking);
           and more recently safety on the internet and mental health and
           well-being. In my younger years I was a Form Tutor, Under-16
           football coach and a Head of Wolseley House for around 15 years.
           Promotion to the SMT in 1999 and then to Deputy Headmaster in
           our Centenary Year meant that my role became more managerial
           rather than teaching. The major advantage in having a leadership
           role is that you can exercise more in uence on policy and the
           direction in which the school develops.
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