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I was born in 1952 in Essex and amazed family and friends when I passed my 11+ and got 4 'O' levels...

Teaching at Summer School in 1973

Your name: 
Chris Middleton
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Back in 1973 I was pursuing a PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham when I uncovered an advert for OU Summer School Tutor Assistants (at least I think that was their title).

I had hoped to offer my time for a month and was somewhat ‘miffed’ when the OU stipulated that I could only work for 2 weeks at any summer school. Little did I know then why the restriction was in place!

Anyway I travelled to the University of Warwick that summer to attend 2 consecutive summer schools for the Technology Foundation course (T100 I think). Almost immediately I was supporting the various aspects of the summer school course including laboratory sessions and visits to local places of relevant interest. This was supplemented by conversations with students which filled any gaps in the timetabled day and went on from breakfast through lunch onto dinner and beyond in the bar.

My main recollection of such occasions was the tremendous thirst for knowledge which the students demonstrated day after day. It was unrelenting, so that by the end of the first summer school, I really welcomed some time to myself by visiting Coventry and its cathedral before meeting the next set of summer school students.

The students in the second week were equally thirsty for knowledge, so that by the end of my 2 weeks I was ‘brain dead’ from having been almost sucked dry of what I knew from my own education and experience. Going back to the more traditional student environment in Birmingham was a welcome recovery, but after nearly 40 years I have not forgotten the stimulating 2 weeks at summer school in the presence of some very highly motivated people.