Saturday, 10 July 2010

The most significant lesson

Not sure if this will be some kind of internet meme thing, but today I got me thinking about the most important/significant school lesson I ever had. Not from the greatest teacher, but the thing we learnt has made a big chunk of the man I am today.

It was a geography lesson, the teacher was a bit of a donkey, more interested in teaching football than geography and I guess he must have been mighty hungover in class on several occasions. Much of the geography he taught was on data collection and statistical analysis. We were thirteen or fourteen year olds in a big expensive school, we all lived up to twenty miles away from the school.

On this one occasion he gave us a task, we were to draw a map of our route to and from school.

But sir, we're not cartographers, how are we supposed to know the routes? Can we trace from an A to Z or the road atlas.

No we were to draw it from memory, the same route we taken to school every day for the past three years.

It was a hell of a task. Folk were gazing out of the window in despair. I remember Tom Binns's map just had the first mile or so, then an area labelled 'cloud of uncertainty', then he arrived outside the school.

But it made me wonder, had I had my eyes closed for so long. Did I actually not know where I was? It made me think more carefully, playing back the journey that I took every day. How did I get where I am. Can I retrace my steps just in my head?

Its not like the London Underground where you get on the train, then its just darkness all round until the next stop. God knows what the route is.

Then again, with the London Underground, can you remember the sequence of the stations on the line you take?

Can you remember the sequence of the streets on a Monopoly board?

So, aye. Mr Brennan's Geography class where we had to draw our own route to school, that was the most significant lesson I had at school.

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