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Were you encouraged and inspired at school ? Home?

(104 Posts)
silverlining48 Thu 07-May-20 15:36:34

Just that really. I left school in 1963. My school took the view we would leave at 15 or could perhaps ‘ stay on’ til 16. Employment would be either office, shop, or factory. I had no careers advice.p and no one asked about my interests and aptitude or if I had a preference. I didn’t think there was an option and never ever questioned this.

What was your experience?

Skweek1 Sun 17-May-20 17:42:24

I always intended to play professional violin - fancied orchestral playing. My careers advice was to become a librarian (school were concerned that I should get out of my somewhat restrictive family and become independent. The school asked what I would do if I didn't get into music college, which had never crossed my mind - I knew I would), so instead of saying librarianship, I said I guessed I'd go into teaching. Because teacher training applications had to be submitted almost at once, I applied and was accepted by my first choice college, but caught sight of the school reference which said they didn't think I was cut out for teaching and they'd always seen my as a librarian. At the end of the first 2 years, I left college, hating teaching, and went to music college, where I took a teaching diploma and enjoyed teaching violin until I moved into admin. Spent two years working in a specialist library and then Civil Service for next 10 years before finally being senior PA/administrator/book-keeper and running my own admin company. Perhaps I would have been happier working as an ordinary librarian, but although never been rich, have enjoyed my career overall and still enjoy music, playing keyboards for local choir and teaching myself flute and sax, as due to severe arthritis no longer able to play violin.

quizqueen Sun 10-May-20 17:37:13

My working class family always encouraged me to do well at school as a means of getting out of the council house system. Dad taught me to read and count before I went to school (no pre-schools then) and was over the moon when I passed for the grammar. I ended up at teacher training college and was the first in the family to ever own a house.

Jaxie Sun 10-May-20 17:26:57

I went to an all- girls grammar school in Stockport, leaving in 1959. I hated school as the teachers had no idea how to deal with working class girls. The teaching methods were fossilised; only last year I was in contact with my old English teacher who to,d me it was the worse school she ever taught in. I had to leave at 16 to get a job as I came from a single parent family and my father didn’t give a damn about supporting the family he deserted. I was fortunate enough to get a job as a trainee technician at a prestigious university. Just before I left I was sent on an errand to the ghastly headmistress. I have never forgotten her comment: “ Here comes the new technician for the university” in a sarcastic tone. She neither congratulated me on getting the job nor wished me good luck. Apparently the only pupils she was interested in were those staying on to the sixth form. Her nasty attitude schooled the way I dealt with students when many years later I became a teacher myself. I made sure to see the value in every one and to encourage them to reach their potential.

Sgilley Sun 10-May-20 17:21:15

silverlinings48 you said it all. No, never advised or encouraged by school or parents. Didn’t do much for my confidence.

Alishka Sun 10-May-20 11:29:39

@ Bluegrass, I did indeed have a weekly (v.small) column in the now-defunct Rome Daily American, describing the adventures of a young blonde mini-skirted English girl in Rome where, at that time,girls were heavily chaperoned by large black-robed 'nonnas'(grandmothers). T'was fun - and lucrative,btw.grin

Shizam Sun 10-May-20 00:22:15

Reading Caroline Criado Perez book, Invisible Women. Can’t recommend it enough. All about how our gender are being failed by every sector.. From how they diagnose heart attacks, organise public transport, design car safety. So much more. It impacts into what you are all saying.

Sleepygran Sat 09-May-20 23:23:35

My mum wanted me to leave school at 15 and go to work but was overridden by dad who said that he wanted me to never have to rely on a man for my living! Very forward thinking in those days!
No support from school or any careers advice at all.
I sort of let him down and married at 19 but continued with training and ended up with a good job,and continued even after children,so in the end he was very proud of me.Imstill with the same man but it hasn't always been easy, but dad knew that too, and said 'well, you can leave, you can keep yourself and the kids'.

Daisyboots Sat 09-May-20 22:43:23

I was top of the class at my junior school so when I passed the 11+ I then went on to sit another exam to win a scholarship to the local independent girls school. Much to everyone's surprise I did not get offered a place but another girl not near the top did get a place. So I went to the girls grammar school.A few years later I found out why. My BF at the time also went to the same grammar school but in the year below. She also lived on the same council estate and had tried for the scholarship to the independent school although she had been to a private junior school. Her mother met up with an old friend and it turned out he was a governor at the independent school. He said he wished he had known that she had put her daughter forward for the scholarship as they never accepted girls who lived on council estates but he may have been able to have had a word. This was in the mid 1950s and it just made me determined to own my own house. The girl from my class who got the scholarship lived in the road that lead into the council estate but was private. Yet the house was a two up two down with an outside toilet.

At grammar school as had been said I was just a clever girl among 100 clever girls. By the time it came to age 16 I had become disillusioned by it all and decided I didn't want to continue to university which upset my Dad but not my mother. So as the two subjects I loved and was very good at were Maths and French the careers officer said in my 15 minute interview that as I didnt want to go to university my choice for using French would be telephonist at the international exchange. For maths it was a choice of the banks or the Inland Revenue. I got offers of employment from 4 banks and the Inland Revenue. I went to work for one of the banks but did not enjoy it.
After having my children I went back to work in an office in an accounting capacity and in my 30s was able to study full time for my accountancy qualification. But have had several different jobs and at one time was the MD of a manufacturing company.

Txquiltz Sat 09-May-20 21:15:09

Fortunately, school was generally very positive for me. My home life was a mess so school became my haven. I have been blessed to travel and live in many places during my life. I cannot count the number of times memories of lessons taught about the world have come to me. I will always appreciate those teachers that believed in giving their students "wings".

Missgran Sat 09-May-20 20:24:13

My schools never really encouraged me owing to my fathers career i went to ten schools in as many years finally left and did my o levels at college then did various office jobs sometimes wonder if I could have made more of my life but have a happy life and a lovely family

Grandmama Sat 09-May-20 19:47:16

I did well at primary school and could manage the work (passed 11+ as I mentioned in another post today) but it was a tough school and I was not really happy there. I was an only child and not used to sticking up for myself. At the end of my first year at grammar school I scraped into the A stream but the work got harder and my parents weren't able to help me when I didn't understand some of the work, particularly equations in algebra and physics. No help was offered at school. My 0 level results were good and I went on to A levels. One or two girls went into nursing and other careers that needed A levels but most of us were expected to go to university. Due to a major change in the family circumstances a couple of weeks before I entered the 6th form studying at home became very difficult and my mock A level results were poor. The school was aware of my changed circumstances but absolutely no-one at school looked into the deterioration in my work and no pastoral care whatsoever was offered. In fact, I was taken to task by the headmistress who more or less told me off and that I had no hope of university with these results - and asked what I was going to do about it. I was offered a conditional place by several universities and had a couple of interviews which went badly as I'd had no preparation for them from school and had no idea what to expect (told off by the headmistress for not being prepared!). I didn't get into university, had a gap year that I sorted out myself but when I returned to school to ask the head for a reference she was furious that I had sorted a job out myself without consulting her about my decision to go to teacher training college. She criticized my first choice of college, I thought she wasn't going to give me a reference. I got into my first choice but I felt badly let down by the school.

Bluegrass Sat 09-May-20 19:09:50

Alisha, your post read a like the opening of a novel. I felt intrigued to know more! I expect many of us have interesting tales to tell..x

katynana Sat 09-May-20 19:06:57

Fascinating to read all these comments and see how much they seem to mirror my own experience. I went to a , slightly upmarket, grammar school but left after ´O´levels as I understood that I needed to make a contribution to the family finances (stepfather not over-happy at having an 11 year old daughter´foisted ´on him when he married my mother. To be fair I wasn´t too thrilled with suddenly getting a father (not had one before) so hardly the most harmonious atmosphere at home.
I got a decent job with a prestigious insurance company which I stayed in for 3 years. During that time I reasoned that all my schoolfriends were going off to university or similar and, surely, I was as bright as they were so what could I do? I enjoyed games in and out of school without being a top class athlete of any sort so opted to try for P. E College. Only 5 or 6 of these in the country at that time so applied anyway and, much to my surprise, was accepted in one. The next 3 years were spent having a wonderful time doing stuff that I actually enjoyed and then into teaching. A career at last.
I had been classed as an independent student during this time on the strength of my 3 years in the City so no need for contributions from home, a full grant was there.
Many years later my mother told me that, of course , I could have stayed on into the 6th form. Would things have turned out differently if I had? Probably but I don´t have any regrets. I did it on my own.

CrazyGranny60 Sat 09-May-20 18:19:38

No, as i just replied in another thread, I was expected to work in Woolworth or go to secretarial college. i lasted two months in college, then left home and moved to London and chose my own career.

Justwidowed Sat 09-May-20 17:56:13

When I was 10 I spent 6 weeks in hospital after being diagnosed with Diabetes. Sweets had come off ration for the Coronation 8 months earlier!!I had missed a lot of school and also the Scholarship exam.My teacher gave me extra tuition and I sat the exam on my own in a big room with 1 man.When I opened the exam paper I found that it was the same exam that everyone else had taken earlier and that I had been coached on !! I made a few deliberate errors and passed with 90%.My parents encouraged me and I left school at 16 and joined the civil service at Premium bonds.
Left there at 25 to have children and returned to work one night a week packing wages.Then started at a Post Office two half days a week.After that part time at a bank for 15 years and retired at 52 when my third husband got his army pension. We had over 20 years touring the world until he died last year.I am still good with money !!My parents were always proud of me and encouraged me

Jane10 Sat 09-May-20 17:38:44

We weren't particularly encouraged or inspired at school or at home. It was quite simply expected that we would do as well as we possibly could at whatever we did. With this expectation instilled I duly did work to the best of my ability.

annodomini Sat 09-May-20 17:24:14

My parents encouraged all three of us and expected us to go to University. They didn't try to guide us towards any particular subject, but as the curriculum in Scotland was broad, there was a reasonable choice. Right from the beginning my teachers had me marked down as 'good at English', though once I was in secondary school, I also veered towards classics. It was up to me and I did eventually study and teach English. As a family, we ended up with degrees in English, Medicine and Economics.

Sheilasue Sat 09-May-20 16:59:04

No not really, education in the 50s and 60s wasn’t a happy time for me. I struggled with lessons, apart from English, history and I loved reading.
I left at 15 went to work in an office and went to college once a week for typing. I was much happier. Never regret anything my parents said

Gwenisgreat1 Sat 09-May-20 16:47:24

My dad was determined I was going to be a pharmacist, which I definitely did not want. I wanted to do something with art and design, but that was vetoed. Anyway It became quite obvious I was not going to make it to university. Then dad was hell bent on me becoming a secretary!! I was woken one morning nd told to get dressed and have breakfast, I was going to secretarial college. I hated it and the smokey office I ended up in. I felt I needed to get away from home to applied to train as a GPO telephonist in London. I loved that.

Bakingmad0203 Sat 09-May-20 16:30:51

I don’t remember any teachers being encouraging, though there was one who made A level Economics very interesting and I have maintained that interest all my life.

In the mid 60s I “failed “ the 11+. Only 3 girls and 7 boys from my year passed (the boys grammar school was a lot bigger)

I went to a Secondary modern school for one year and was then transferred to the Girls Grammar school because I did well in the tests. I remember most of the teachers at the Secondary Modern school did not enjoy teaching, except for the music and art teachers.

Going straight into the second year of Grammar school was hard. It meant I had to catchup with all the sciences, languages and maths which had been so poorly taught at the Secondary Modern school, and all my old friends called me a snob!

I was one of 4 girls and my parents were very keen to give us a good education, particularly my mother who left school at 14.. However when I said I wanted to study for A levels, she asked me if I was sure I could cope, as I was no academic and a plodder.

The Grammar school definitely focussed on getting as many girls into university as possible. However if you weren’t university material then you were advised the bank, civil service, teaching or nursing.

The history teacher was also our careers teacher and he suggested I trained to be a teacher as I would be good at it and “it is a great career walking around the school corridors with a sheaf of papers in your hand and no one challenges you”!
The thought of teaching horrified me as I didn’t enjoy school or studying very much..

We also had a woman who came to give us one to one career advice in the Lower Sixth. When I told her what I would like to do ( to be a chef) she said” Oh you should have left school at 16 and joined the local further education college. Never mind you might as well finish your A levels now” which I did.

After leaving Polytechnic and a few years working as a manager, I moved abroad and started teaching Professional Cookery at a further education college. I enjoyed it so much that I then studied for a teaching qualification. I continued teaching in Further Education colleges right up to my retirement.
I think the Sidney Poitier film “To Sir With Love” inspired me to go into Further Education teaching, not school or parents.

Quizzer Sat 09-May-20 16:15:27

In the 1960s my girls only school was certainly inspirational. We did not learn typing (no computers then) or any home economics. The reason given was that we were all destined for higher things. It worked! In my year alone there were 19 doctors, many lawyers and judges, an MP, and numerous scientists.

Notagranyet1234 Sat 09-May-20 15:41:59

It's really strange because I have just posted in the were your parents proud thread about my experience of a comprehensive education in the 1970s. In short I left school feeling stupid and hopeless, I was bullied both physically and mentally terrorised for the whole time I was there.
I achieved poorly leaving with O'levels teaching staff thought I was lazy and didn't want to work.
I felt worthless.
However 3 decades later aged 47 I went to university through a foundation year opportunity and passed the university acknowledgement that I was not worthless but Dyslexic meant I went from feeling like I was a stupid and useless underachiever. To studying applied biochemistry graduating with a high 2:1 followed up with a cracking pass at MSc. I was so inspired by the university that I have volunteered to speak at open days to students with additional needs. I am in my late 50s and I am employed for the first time in a graduate role. If only I'd done it years ago 😊

BeenBizzy Sat 09-May-20 15:24:40

Sounds like Silverlining48.... and I went to the same school , In the '' black country '' that was all that was offered. Office, shop, or factory. A lot of the girls from the local high school ended up in a large department store in Wolverhampton. For my class mates it would have been Woolworths.......
I was lucky,. my parent believed in educating girls. So when I said I wanted to be a nurse it was off to college.
I went to a further education college in a full time nursing course. From there into hospital.
Hard work and great fun being a student nurse in those days. Once trained we could move anywhere in the world or country.... So we did, plus we could get married without giving up the Job....
I spent the last years I worked as a Ward Sister. Hate to say it but both myself and husband were glad when I left.

katy1950 Sat 09-May-20 15:15:45

I had a maths teacher I can remember him saying to the class that there was no point in teaching girls maths as they will be married with children by the time they were 19 he was a pig he like to humiliate you in front of the class .

Froglady Sat 09-May-20 14:22:42

I had a teacher in my third year of Junior School, Mr Macpherson, and he was the first teacher that I felt encouraged and supported by. In the exams that year, I came 4in the Christmas ones, 2nd in the Easter ones and 3rd in the summer ones. I was offered the chance to move up to the top class for the final year but wanted to stay in the class taught by Mr Macpherson. Just my luck that he moved up to reach the top class in the final year! Looking back I wish I could have said that I'd changed my mind and could I move up to the top class after all, but I didn't.