All Change again!
January-March: Ran a 9-week version of Understanding Yourself & Others: an Introduction to Psychology for Rossett.
Commentary: For various reasons, this was the first ‘Intro’ course we had run since 2012. It was one of the best attended courses I had run for Rossett; and, while it wasn’t without its challenges, they proved a delightful class to work with. 4 were returners from the last Psychology Topics course and almost all of them expressed a strong desire to take part in the next Psychology Topics.
April: Left Woodhouse Grove to concentrate on my private tuition and therapy businesses.
Commentary: More than any other school I had been involved with since the days of HemsMESH – perhaps because of the GREEN in their Methodist tradition – Woodhouse Grove saw education as being about developing the whole person. This was something I had been banging on about since I had written Formation more than Education back in 2004. This ethos was reflected in the school not only getting kids to university but also in turning out a number of people who went on to have viable careers in the media and performing arts as well as a regular handful of regional and national-level sportspeople.
However, the problems with the Year 12 class, which had put me in hospital in December, had, if anything, got worse. Following 2 more periods of stress-induced ill health, I decided to leave and the school agreed to let me go with a fairly good severance package. There had never been any criticism of my teaching and the reference I left with was highly complimentary. With my tuition business so busy I had been turning away new enquiries since December, focusing my energies on that was almost a no-brainer! My health improved dramatically and I was soon supporting 14 tutees a week.
April: Agreed to run the Rossett ‘Introduction to Psychology’ and ‘Psychology Topics’ courses for Shipley College.
Commentary: Shipley College marketing manager Alison Coles had heard about the Rossett courses on the ‘grapevine’ and that I had recently relocated to Apperley Bridge…so I was invited to meet with Adult Learning, Lifestyle & Leisure manager Anne Rowe who saw immediately that my courses should have a place in her department’s portfolio.
April-June: Ran an 8-week version of Understanding Yourself & Others – an Introduction to Psychology for Rossett.
June: Finished supporting the last of this academic year’s A-Level tutees.
Commentary: The number of cards and presents I received this year was quite overwhelming, clearly indicative of the quality of relationships I had built with the tutees. I enjoyed the beer and wine and my wife loved the flowers and chocolates! Several quotes from the cards can be viewed on the Client Quotes page.
July: Ran 2-
Commentary: 10 participants, 8 of whom had already trained with me. The group gelled really quickly. Feedback at the end was almost 100% positive! Amongst the models and theories used were Schemas & Memes, Neurological Levels, the Gravesian approach, Assimilation-Contrast Effect and 4Q/8L.
Gallery: A few shots from Conflict Management, July 2014 – click on photo to enlarge.
August: With one exception, all of my private tutees met or exceeded target in their Sociology and Psychology A-Levels, with a couple of As and a number of Bs amongst the results. Also pleasing was an access student I had supported receiving a distinction in Psychology
Commentary: As with the previous 2 years, there was deliberate grade deflation on the part of the exam boards. So these results were good indeed!
Although I had had only limited involvement in Woodhouse Grove between January and March and none at all since April, I was gratified to hear that 2/3 of the Year 13 students had met or exceeded target and all had got their university places. Of the problematic Year 12 class, the proverbial cream had indeed risen to the top. Of particular note was Maša Bešlin, a Serbian who had the remarkable achievement of scoring 100% in the module we had studied the previous Autumn.
August: The West and Russia: a Divergence of Values published in Eros & Kosmos e-zine
Commentary: Eugene Pustoshkin, the e-zine’s editor, had read several of my Blog posts and felt I had a fair and 2nd Tier approach to Russia – so he commissioned me to write the article. There is also a version on this site here.
September: Had a Psychology or Sociology tutee per day by the end of the month.
Commentary: It really surprised me just how much the private tuition took off at the start of this academic year and boosted my confidence that I had made the right decision to leave Woodhouse Grove.
September-December: Taught Health & Society (involving Sociology and History) and Psychology classes on a higher education access course at Leeds City College.
Commentary: I was headhunted (at short notice) to teach the courses for LCC via my friend Chris Maguire and head of faculty Declan Groves. The appointment lasted barely a term. Partly, the time commitment proved just too great in face of my many other commitments. I also found the way the access course was marked confusing. Although it met Quality Assurance Agency criteria, it seemed weak to me in comparison to what I knew A-Level students were required to achieve. It was good, though, to get back in the classroom and establish rapport with some great students. My GREEN vMEME found it very easy to empathise with students who may have messed up a few years before at school but were now determined to get the very best grade they could. Observing the efforts and sacrifices they put into ‘bettering’ themselves was positively humbling.
September – December: Ran ‘Pychology Topics #4: Dreams, Personal Resilience for Rossett on Wednesday evenings. On Thursday evenings I ran Understanding Yourself & Others – an Introduction to Psychology for Shipley College. Attendance at both classes was just below the maximum permitted!
Commentary: It was exciting to break in a new venue. Again, like Malcolm Howe at Rossett, Shipley Adult Learning, Lifestyle & Leisure manager Anne Rowe very much gave me a free hand to do it ‘my way’. It was especially gratifying to see the material and the conducting of the class producing a similar ‘gelling’ effect with the Shipley participants as it had so many times at Rossett.
Gallery: Participants from the introductory course at Shipley College, November 2014 (All photos: Joan Russell/Shipley College )– click on photo to enlarge.
November – December: Ran another 2-day Conflict Management programme for Rossett.
Gallery: A few shots from Psychology Topics #4, December 2014 – click on photo to enlarge.