Blogging the 2010s — 47 — May 2014

Another of those teacher moments…

Today’s email delivered this from the University of Oxford:

I think you taught me English in 4th form at WHS in 1975; a long time has passed and all I remember about those lessons is Evelyn Waugh’s  ‘The Loved One’, a book which I didn’t much like at the time and still haven’t read properly to this day.  You did, however, encourage me to read books by serious authors and for that I’m very grateful; since then I’ve read many; Aldous Huxley’s are still my favourites.

I went on to do PhD in Maths, in Australia, take a post doc position in the Mathematical Institute  at the University of Oxford and then a lectureship there. I’m still at the University of Oxford.

How did I find your blog? It turned up after a Google search for Christopher Pyne; I regard Christopher Pyne with complete and utter contempt and I’m *very* angry about what he’s doing!!!

For example and for heaven’s sake, how can someone come out with “If an elderly person passes away with a HECS debt, they wouldn’t be able to say to the bank, ‘we’re not paying back our mortgage’”  and expect to be taken seriously! Dead people can’t talk and what has a mortgage got to do with HECS? Beyond belief.

I will forgive him about Evelyn Waugh: Year 10 may have been too soon for that, but  it being 1975 and my first year at Wollongong High I may have drawn the short straw in the textbook room!

So long ago!


Wollongong baths 1975 – linked to source

See also on Wollongong High Time travel (2013) and mais où sont les neiges d’antan? (2012).


And two days later:

During the week I had an email from a student I taught at Wollongong High in 1975, now a mathematician at the University of Oxford. I was pleased to note his contempt for C Pyne and all his works: “How is it possible that this irrational, babbling idiot is the Federal Minister for Education?” 🙂  He has followed up recently:

Your classes, however long ago,  are difficult to forget.

I am unsure why, except 1975 was a productive year, marked among other things by that quite wonderful residential conference at Katoomba. In 2007 I wrote:

Thirty-two years ago The Poet and I both attended not a Summer School but an Easter School, residential, at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba, and it was intense, brilliant, and also fun. We had local and UK leaders in our field running the thing, and it was government funded. Teachers from state and private schools were there, notably Paul Brock, then a Marist Brother. No $5000 carrot was dangled in front of us. We were there because we cared about English teaching.

Well, Jeff of 4E4 1975, it turns out I still have a book in which I pasted now fading photocopies of student work from that time, including from your class!



Looking every bit of their almost forty years old!

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