A CLASS ACT: Kicked out of school on the first day

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A CLASS ACT: Kicked out of school on the first day

I never intended being a teacher. But there is my name in the list of graduates of North Shore Teachers College at the end of 1973.

Not a career I chose but . . .

I'd been kicked out of Auckland Uni for “failure to make satisfactory progress”, which was hardly surprising.

With no career advice at all from my school – which didn't have such a thing as careers advisor – I'd gone to uni because . . . well, because it was where everyone else was going and my parents expected it.

Neither they nor I had any idea what “going to university” meant: my dad had left school at 15, my mum at 14 and my first question of someone there was “can you smoke in lectures?”

Because I'd seen Jacques Cousteau on television and thought it looked a glamorous life sailing around the Med and swimming with colourful fish I decided to be a marine biologist . . . despite only having done basic Zoology at school.

Needless to say after two years I only passed one paper (Zoology) and was given a D Restricted in Botany, which meant I'd failed but they'd give me a pass on the promise I'd never darken their hallways again.

But two passes was a fail, I needed three to stay on and my Chemistry mark had been lower when I repeated the paper than in my first year. All those hours in the public bar of “the Big I” hotel had cost me.

While I waited around for these papers to be transferred to Waikato Uni so I could resume my illustrious career in marine research with bikini-clad women as Jacques had, my dad suggested I apply for teacher's college.

So I did.

The term had been going a few weeks but I bluffed my way through an interview for the primary college and they let me come in as a late entrant. However I thought I would be at the Mt Eden campus but they sent me to the North Shore, not a place I had ever spent any time other than driving through.

On my appointed first day I went to the bus stop on Victoria St and joined a bunch of other students for the journey across the bridge to place I hadn't even known existed.

When I got off the bus at the vast college I was walking up the path – to who knows where and what – when I spotted someone who looked vaguely like a lecturer (walk shorts, short-sleeved shirt, wide tie) and asked where my group (some number and letter like 1B) were.

He spun me around and said they were all getting on that bus over there to go on a school visit so I should hurry and get onboard.

I did and we arrived at a crisp and clean primary school nearby.

As I was walking up the path a loud voice yelled, “You! Where do you think you are going?”

It was the school principal surveying the students coming in to discreetly observe some lessons. He was sizing them up. Me he spotted: jeans, t-shirt, basketball boots, long hair.

I was hauled out of line, given a dressing down for not dressing up and sent back to the bus.

I sat there joking with the Maori driver for an hour or so.

Kicked out of school on my first day.

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Footnote: I was at NSTC for three years but in my second and third I was given exemption from some classes to return to uni, this time studying and English and Art History. I subsequently taught off and on -- mostly on, aside from a few part-time years as a relief teacher and some serious writing for magazines and the New Zealand Herald -- for 12 years at Birkdale Intermediate, Penrose High School (now One Tree Hill College) and Glenfield College. In 1987 I was invited to join the Herald as a senior feature writer.

My first day there was . . . memorable

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These entries are of little consequence to anyone other than me Graham Reid, the author of this site, and maybe my family, researchers and those with too much time on their hands.

Enjoy these random oddities at Personal Elsewhere.

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Lisa - May 9, 2023

You were my best teacher at Glenfield College, Mr. Reid. :)

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