In the introduction I began discussion on aims and themes; to begin the conclusion I

will summarise both of these, the aims:-

Career Aims

Teaching Aims

Personal Aims

and the overarching themes:-


Equal Opportunities


1) Career Aims

In the introduction I mentioned that career was not particularly important to me.

Typical of my attitude to career was that at Brixton Comprehensive I applied for a

position as Deputy Head of Department after five or six years, didn't get the job and

then didn't apply when the job arose a year later because I had decided to leave

teaching when my year group at that time 4YZ(Yellow house and Zanetti) would have

left the school. In other words I did not want to apply if I was not committed to the

work ie no career motivation.

However when I arrived at Hove Comprehensive certain aspects of my attitude to

career had changed, for reasons of personal responsibilities money brought me back

into the profession. I therefore tried on many occasions to get promotion. In the end

to gain financial reward I was forced to take on private tuition - both to get money and

also to get the money without having to work excessive hours, a requirement of the

1987 ERA policy of changing scale points for allowances so that classroom teaching

can be rewarded.

Again for personal reasons I took the job here in Botswana, not because it was

promotion but hoping that I might build a career here whilst making a change and

travelling; this now turns out to be difficult because they have a strong localisation

policy which I support.

My attitude to career and careerists is difficult and has caused difficulties for me. I

had a bitter experience at Brixton Comprehensive. There was a promotion and I had

applied, and the indiscrete headmistress had virtually promised me the job. A friend

came round on the Saturday before the appointment and we were discussing this, I

mentioned what the headmistress had said. This so-called friend had mentioned this

to my head of department who, being political, had taken advantage of the situation

and reported the matter to the governors - it was true at the time, approx 1982, that

the governors were in the pocket of the headmistress. I also think the HOD was

frightened of working with me as deputy in view of his continued absence on NUT

business, and the arguments that had previously ensued because of his absence and

his manner of control. This so-called friend was a careerist who had used the

situation, another so-called friend was the teacher rep on the governors who reported

to them (his political sympathies were with the SWP). All-in-all a very bitter pill to

swallow even though I was extremely naive and indiscrete myself. You could say I

should choose my friends better but I could never do this to anyone, I still couldn't

even after that business, I could never use people like that. Mind you these friends

were drinking friends!!

After that experience, and hopefully before, I have always been tolerant of careerists

taking the view that someone who wants to fashion a career should be entitled to do

so providing they don't climb on the backs of others. Sadly I have crossed the path of

careerists on other occasions where lack of integrity has accompanied career

advancement, and I think that my concern about careerists clouded my judgement

about working with the East Sussex (although perhaps not the judgement itself - see

part 6). At Hove Comprehensive my career was soured by a careerist, the

headmaster. In my view the headmaster had reached his position fortuitously, and an

active NUT branch would have been a threat to that position. His career was, I

believe, not based on competence so therefore there was a need for him to secure

his position in other ways - in part 8 I alluded to those other ways.

In the end it is my failing of a lack of will to compromise which has affected my career

path, also because I don't place career as a high enough priority. In my private

political life I worked with many people organising etc, I believe I have the skills to

manage but when it comes to some of the less appealing compromises that are

required I don't seem willing to make them. Luckily at present at Botswana

Secondary School I seem to have found a situation again, like at Brixton

Comprehensive, where the dominant requirement for success is hard work so I am

able to work satisfactorily again. Perhaps if I try to move up the ladder here as well I

will end up in trouble again.

2) Teaching Aims

As I mentioned in the introduction my initial aims in teaching were dominated by

self-realisation, and after working at Hove Comprehensive I came to the conclusion

that self-realisation was a windmill for Don Quixote idealism to tilt at. Now I would

place myself somewhere between the stools of self-realisation and equal

opportunities where I judge qualifications as the passport to opportunity, and if all

students leave with the passports then they can decide how to become self-realised if

they so wish; at the same time I am paid and I travel. I have become disillusioned

with ideals for education because I believe that education, in reality, is not governed

by the theories we were taught.

Practice, with theory, is the reality, and I found efforts at trying to achieve my

objective very unfulfilling. It was quite clear to me that at Brixton Comprehensive,

despite the efforts of many hard-working teachers, the overall objective of the

education system was not self-realisation for all the students at Brixton

Comprehensive. Following on the disillusionment, not abject as I had always been

tempered with a healthy bout of cynicism, I worked at Hove Comprehensive where,

unless I suppressed the majority of my ideals and simply accepted those minimal

aspects of self-realisation attested to by the headmaster, I began to realise that

self-realisation was an ideal taught at teacher training college and not an ideal which

was to be attempted to put into practice. At this stage political theories such as

educating for failure began to make more sense, and I stopped listening to the

apologists for the system who used to say we were trying for self-realisation but

failing. I recognised that neither society nor the political will were concerned that all

students passed or were even a success in some form.

In terms of curriculum I also made a radical change on the way. At Brixton

Comprehensive I worked with people who had strong political and educational

commitment. Often ideology was the driving force for the implementation of

educational change on an individual level, and this often meant that the students at

Brixton Comprehensive were guinea pigs for good educational work. Unfortunately

the exam syllabus was not considered good educational work, not much emphasis

was placed on the syllabus except by the students who became disillusioned with

those who purported to be working for them, ie Equal Opportunities, but were in fact

working for their ideologies. My experience of this was with the left wing as referred to

in the anti-racist and trade union parts(parts 4-9) of this autobiography but I am not

here simply referring to political ideology.

When I went to Hove Comprehensive I met teachers who were very much exam

teachers. Although sympathetic to this approach I began additional work towards my

ideal of self-realisation through the Hidden Curriculum. Soon however there was a

barrage of innovations from the government, and teachers found themselves under

unnecessary pressure - I did not want to add to this at my school so I didn't push

these issues(mainly Equal Opportunities) as much as I would have in other


Now in Botswana by comparison the teaching is solely exam teaching. The students

want this, the teachers want this and the only people who don't seem to want it are

the international experts brought in by ODA and others who want to introduce the sort

of innovation which has bedevilled the English teaching system recently. I find myself

highly critical of such changes especially as these so-called experts seem to be

introducing them into the system with the same lack of thought and preparation that

they were introduced into the English system.

Undoubtedly I feel a level of alienation concerning my aims as a teacher but at the

same time I am a teacher. Although I am now beginning to feel the strain of the

classroom, even the better classrooms of Botswana, I still can't see myself doing a job

other than connected with teaching, perhaps not so "hands-on" though.

3) Personal Aims

I started my teaching career after having a strong personal reaction to the

middle-class environment I had grown up in - a common reaction at that time(late

60's and early 70's). Having rejected the dominating approaches of this middle-class

background I began to find my wings and started searching for the "meaning of life".

That approach led me on a spiritual journey for the rest of my twenties - hence the

search for self-realisation in education, and it was at the end of my time at Brixton

Comprehensive that I began working on the magazine and met people whose politics

I respected. These were mainly Africans, and from this I grew an interest in

development work and international politics. When I moved to Brighton this interest

grew and I became active in politics particularly the trade union movement, strongly

representing international interests in the work that I did.

I felt that as soon as I became an active socialist I lost my ability to move up the

ladder, even though I was more disciplined by necessity as I explained in part 8 and

more experienced for obvious reasons. From outside I am sure people will say I was

aggressively socialist but I don't know. To be perfectly honest I believe that the system

is frightened of socialists and unless they can compromise them it rejects them; how

it does this in practice differs but I know of other socialists who describe such a

scenario. I was definitely more consciously appeasing in my time at Hove

Comprehensive than I ever was at Brixton Comprehensive. I remember on one

occasion my treatment of the headmistress at Brixton Comprehensive was an

absolute disgrace yet this went unpunished, my headmaster at Hove Comprehensive

would have loved such behaviour because it was clear grounds for a disciplinary


Where I stand now is very difficult to describe. I am neither consciously active

spiritually or politically, it's almost like I'm resting!! Botswana is a slow and usually

pleasant place without any of the rat race, just the frustration of working in a society

for whom not all see the advantages of efficiency. One important rationale for doing

the M Ed is so that I wouldn't go brain dead; many here, including the ex-patriates,

follow a hedonistic life-style, as I am not interested in such studying is very important

to me.

Staff Development

Ever since I began my work at Hove Comprehensive I have felt that I wanted to

become involved with staff development, and as I have said this was an important

factor in my beginning this study. But it is based on an understanding that has

developed in my time in education. In part 8 I discussed many aspects of trade union

work including a section on staff welfare. I feel very strongly that the basis of a school

of excellence is a school which brings its staff together as a team, motivates that

team for the school as well as providing for the individual needs of the teachers

concerned, and as I said in my introduction I consider teachers to be the most

under-utilised resource in the education system. Quality is increasingly more a

byword in education, in my view that quality cannot exist until teachers are treated

qualitatively and in my view staff development is the key to that qualitative


Overarching Themes

In the introduction I mentioned the three overarching themes which are:-


Equal Opportunities


These themes are interwoven although as I pointed out in part 2 I am concerned that

some of the motivations for reflection-in-action smack of elitism, and not equal

opportunities, yet there is no doubt in my mind that reflection-in-action is a process

that would lead to quality learning and decision-making.

Throughout the race issue the issue of quality and motivation were always closely

linked, and yet more obviously this is an area of EOPS. Through the awareness

training I tried to get the teachers to see some of the processes which cause racial

disadvantage, and that teachers should make a conscious effort to overcome these

processes and create an environment where black students could have equal access

to learning. By creating a suitable environment then these students would overcome

some of the alienation they feel belonging to a racist society, and attempt to produce

better quality work. One important notion that I have not spelt out yet is that providing

equal access does not provide equal opportunities because access does not take

account of the motivation of the students. The whole field of "Education Towards

Race Equality" tries to demonstrate that even though there is equal access to the

teacher in a classroom this does not mean there is equal access to learning; the

factor of importance is motivation, the psychological approach of the student towards

education. In part 6, the section on anti-racist maths, I tried to demonstrate that a

process of ownership or familiarity with the real-life context of the material improved

this motivation, and because of that improved motivation there was also an improved

quality to the work produced. Arguments rage concerning the efficacy of financing

"Education Towards Race Equality". Although there are clear examples where such

finance can clearly demonstrate positive advancement but in general the results of

such finance can only be a qualitative improvement and as such cannot be

measured. Some might argue, by an examination of the work, that 3GS on pie charts

were no better than others of the same age, on paper they could perhaps win that

argument but no amount of rhetoric or rationale will ever convince me that their

education whilst doing that topic was of a higher quality than at any other time I

taught them, and that it was because of the material and not my commitment. But

how can you measure the definitiveness of the statement I have just made.

Parts 4-7 focussed on the race issue, how teachers' attitudes might affect the

students and how, through the use of materials, teachers could overcome these

attitudes. In the next section I focussed on trade unions, and here again the

overarching themes were relevant. As explained in Section 8B, if you do not provide

proper welfare and conditions of service for teachers then they will not be able to

deliver quality for all students, both they and their students will suffer from a

consequent lessening of motivation. Then by examining the way change has

occurred to teachers, we can see that increased work together with a power coercive

approach to government-centred change can only lead to a demotivated workforce

with all the consequences of lower quality and less opportunity that that entails.

Despite attempts to the contrary you cannot develop that quality by the bureaucratic

practices of the technical rationality of industrial quality assurance. In part 3 I tried to

to establish the historical necessity for the constant of harmonious change, and then I

examined approaches for developing such change. Then in part 9 I attempted to

demonstrate a qualitative approach to change at Toxteth Comprehensive where

people at all levels took ownership of the education and attempted to apply it; I also

tried to demonstrate the important dimensions of time and financial reward, principles

which seem to be recognised for professionals in industry but not for professionals in

education - even though industrial professionals are, in general, paid more.

Personnel Relations

This is a theme which developed through the autobiography, I found that at many

different stages I was noting the importance of personnel relations to the extent that

through the trade union I was working hard for the improvement of education through

the personnel work of the union. Personnel issues are lamentably lacking in

education, little time and effort are spent on ensuring the welfare of teachers

although much rhetoric is wasted on the issue. At Scicon, my first job after college,

there were squash courts and a sports club, in fact much of my social life was

connected to the job, the drink after work, this social club and the football team.

These facilities were a definite factor when I came to consider my resignation. Such

personnel issues are totally lacking in education yet one of the major employers in

any area is the education service.

Another personnel issue that arose strongly in the autobiography is the question of

interpersonal relations. I was clearly adversely affected at Hove Comprehensive by

my relations with the headmaster, I was also adversely affected by relations with a

political faction at Brixton Comprehensive. The overriding commitment of the

socialists concerning the maths work, and the general political involvement of the left,

has left the field of race education a quagmire with its actions and reactions to the

extremes of political idealism. There is a strong need for detachment and tolerance in

education but sadly the pressure cooker of time leaves little opportunity for people to

develop these virtues, and together with the stress of the job personal outbursts are

commonplace particularly towards the end of term. I can only hope that people will

eventually see the importance of the human being - the teacher, and move away from

the technically-rational automatons they are trying to generate.

To finish off, I have found this autobiography surprisingly helpful and

interesting. Despite my cynicism encapsulated in the description of the approach as

mickey mouse, because I was forced to get my head around the process in order to

get the qualification I feel that I have been able to deliberate on my professional

learning experience, consolidate on certain areas and integrate some of my thinking

a bit more consciously, the most striking process of which has been my concern for

quality and the recognition of the personnel issues.


The themes of quality, EOPS, and motivation developed MUST lead to dissertation

connected with these themes. Alienation, I have also touched on as a theme of

negative motivation as well as alienation being an obvious concern of EOPS

practitioners. Importantly-related to this are the personnel issues where it has to be

recognised that human beings are the people delivering the education, quality or not,

and if these themes are to be achieved then the human factor must be considered.

Career-wise I want to move into teacher education and in theory an M Ed is a

pre- requisite in Botswana although there are people who have started teaching

teachers without. In this area of the world paper qualifications are seen as important

so to move into teacher education in other areas of Southern Africa an M Ed is useful.

Reader - Do you want to go back to the contents page? pbcontents.htm

Or go to Bill Zanetti's M Ed page?

Or read Matriellez on Education?

Or read some science fiction?

Or read Zandtao's treatise?