So, I scared myself and a good number of other people today by announcing it was thirty years since I received my A Level results.
They were what I needed to get to where I was intending to go at the time, so I wasn’t too bothered about them being really quite poor results. I was more annoyed by the complete failure in my Music A Level, after getting a good solid B grade at O Level. Consultation with the other 50% of the group (yep, there were just the two of us!) led us both to conclude we’d not had a good two years of teaching, with one honourable exception out of the nine teachers we’d had, the exams had been absolutely awful and nothing like we were expecting, so the results were probably quite fair, we didn’t need the A Level to get to where we were aiming, (me into education, she into nursing) so pursuing the appeals procedure was likely to be a waste of time, effort and money. I didn’t do it, and neither did she.
I was still accepted onto a course where I spent 50% of my time on Music. I’d fulfilled the requirements for that through my audition, my instrumental grade results and my interview. My other two A Levels, in French and General Studies, gave me the results I needed for the other 50% in Education.
My best result was in General Studies… an exam for which we were not prepared, which we all took as a matter of course, and which relied mostly on our own interests and general knowledge.
French.. well, the one year of post A Level work I did killed all love I had of the language. I’ve often intended to revive my ability to read and speak French, but to this day, I’ve rarely had the inclination, apart from the occasional week in France or with groups of French speakers.
But, Music has remained. For a few years, music teaching was my sole form of income, and organ playing and the ability to play the piano has probably shaped my current pattern of life almost more than any other skill I have.
30 years ago, my intention was to become a primary school teacher. I will never regret that decision, as it led me to where I am now, but I have never used that training in the way for which it was intended.
I do still work in education, but in ways I never envisaged and could not have done so as the roles I’ve been fulfilling in recent years just did not exist. In fact, towards the end of the time of my initial training I was firmly told I had no people skills, should aim for nothing higher than working in Woolworth’s (just as well I ignored that piece of well-meant, but brutal advice) and certainly had no talent or aptitude for working with teenagers, and I was never to think of doing so, when I tentatively suggested I might be training for the wrong age range. Um, we all now beg to differ, me, my current employers, hopefully my future employers, and the many teenagers I have worked with and for over the last 20 or more years. (Well, OK, some of teenagers may well agree with the original advice!)
Maybe one day, I’ll try that Music A Level again.. just to prove to myself I can!!