Reflective post for FSLT12 course at Oxford Brooks.
Describing a teaching practice for most of my employed life up to 4 years ago is difficult as it never involved the actual designation as ‘teacher.’ Training apprentices assigned to me by my employers, or hired by own company in light residential / commercial construction, never really seemed like teaching. More like a simple working relationship with as few as 2 or 3 ‘helpers’ in unpredictable situations that I certainly had no control designing and often with minimal goals stated beyond: “get the damn job done!”

To suppose that a ‘normal’ teaching relationship involves a relationship of control is no more useful (though tempting) than to suppose I was at some sort of disadvantage by not being designated or trained as a teacher. As a journeyman / woman, your apprentices take you as they find you, suffer or shine based on the tyrant you feel like that day but does have to be said that very few journeymen are uncaring or unconscious of the role they play in training the next generation’s trades people.

Things out of your control:
the weather
the skills of your ‘helpers’
their attitudes
that day’s assigned job
support in materials, appropriate trained help or authority conflicts….

Closest approximation to teaching theory would come from Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger’s ‘Situated Learning: Legitimate peripheral participation’ and a lingering quote from a nurse interviewed by Studs Terkel in his book ‘Working’: “Jobs are too small for people.” By which I understand that jobs themselves are meaningless without the addition of personal values and responsibilities.

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