Through the WIndow

By Kath

Some years ago I was teaching on the first unit of our post graduate diploma, offsite, in an FE College in the West Midlands.  Fortunately I arrived early, as room A27d proved almost impossible to find.  I trailed up and down, round and round the unprepossessing sprawling building carrying a heavy box, asking for help in vain.  No one knew where this room was.  I eventually tracked down area A and floors a, b and c but d was nowhere to be found.  At last I discovered someone who knew.  He showed me to a room up a tiny obscure, unlabelled flight of stairs halfway between floors b and c.  Apparently d indicated mezzanine.

As I waited the students began to trickle in.  They were from three colleges, this one and two others.  Even the lecturers from the college had had difficulty in finding the room.  None of them had ever taught in it or known of its existence.  At last only three people were missing.  They were from a different college but their colleagues said were definitely on their way.  Suddenly someone looked through the window and said, ‘There they are’ and started to wave frantically.  We all went over and saw three people waving back from a window in another part of the building and mouthing ‘Where are you?’  It is difficult to indicate directions from a distance especially when you are not sure of them yourself so it was not surprising that this did not work. No one appeared in the room.

Three times they appeared at different windows, on different floors, in different bits of the building and three times we gesticulated ineffectually back.  It became increasingly hilarious.  We posted someone at the bottom of the stairs but decided that it was not safe to send anyone any further to look for them in case they too went missing.  No one had a convenient ball of string to hand or a bag of rice with which to leave a trail.  We were in a kind of dingy FE Narnia hoping they would find the back of the wardrobe sooner or later.  When at last they arrived, we greeted them like long lost travellers, united in our pleasure.  In retrospect it was probably one of the best warm up exercises ever.  At last I was able to start the unit.  It was called, ‘Managing Yourself.’

read more about Kath

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