My education had its highs and lows. Since I take credit for the highs (and there were a few) I should also take credit for many of the lows. But that’s not to say I didn’t see my share of bad teaching practice on my journey through the state eduction sector, from the teacher who often just didn’t show up to take a lesson, to the teacher who felt that merely reading a text book to us over the course of the academic year added value.
But it occurred to me that my first experience of bad teaching was my cycling proficiency test. I took it, like everyone else, when I was 10. Navigating myself around the various lines of my school playground, indicating to imaginary cars and swerving around fictitious obstacles. And when I was done I was told: “Now, you’ve passed – but only just. I’ll let you think about that.”
I did think about it, but never worked out what he meant. Did it mean I’d shown only just enough competence at each stage? Or did it mean I was proficient, but had shown one fatal lapse of concentration that would have had me under the wheels of a juggernaut that happened to be passing through the playground? As feedback it was useless, since it gave me no indication of what I needed to improve.
But now fate has landed me with the opportunity to learn why I was such a bad cyclist I “only just” managed to avoid killing myself in the following 8 or so years I was regularly on a bike.
I referred to the ‘Movers and Shakers’ programme a while ago. And have finally plucked up the courage to have a go. I picked up a bike I’m borrowing from a friend last night, and am feeling the pain from riding it this morning. Part of the deal is that I blog about it, hence this post and others that surely follow. My humble request is that, if you see an unsteady cyclist in Battersea Park this weekend remember it’s rude to point. Even ruder to laugh.