Bouquet of the week
It was a mature student, Julie Bryceson, who sent in the postcard saying she would never have survived this year on an Access information technology course at Carlisle College in Cumbria without Barbara San-derson. "I couldn't even switch a computer on when I joined the beginners' class," she writes. Within two months she was switched on, turned on and moved to the Access course. "Please, please give her the bouquet and let her see just how much she is appreciated."
Barbara is happy to get some recognition. "It has been very tough in FE in recent years, and I have found my own satisfaction by getting on with the teaching. No one ever really knows about that, except you and the students."
The experience of being a mature student is familiar to Barbara, who studied computing with the Open University in the l970s. She'd got a degree in maths and physics, worked as a school teacher, had two children and was running a playgroup when the OU lured her back.
Eventually, she became an OU tutor and ran one of its first practical courses. "It was in a community centre and everyone had to bring their computers from home because there were no resources - women learned how to set up their family's machine."
Now teaching a wide range of courses at Carlisle from Beginners IT to HND Computing, she finds it "incredibly interesting to teach such a wide range of people from 18 to 50."
The fact that Barbara works through her lunch breaks and often gives extra tuition will surprise few readers who know anything about good teachers going the extra mile. So, thank you to Barbara and others like her.
Our cover story this week on the disappearing lunch hour gives some new insights into the way the working day has changed and how pupils are expected to adapt. The pressure is on everyone, everywhere.
Labour Day, which has only existed in Britain for 20 years, is the subject of this week's Big Picture - an industrial mural of Ford car workers painted in the 1930s. Those were the days when jobs for the boys demanded muscle and not much else, so it's a good topic for social studies as well as history and economics. The Big Picture is a teaching resource for everyone.
Bouquet of the Week is given in association with Marks amp; Spencer Names, please, on a postcard - and why - to Sarah Bayliss, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY