In 2006 I had a dream. I wanted to become a published author. My mother-in-law cut a piece out of a local newspaper and gave to me because she thought it might help me to achieve that dream. Money was tight for my husband and I and I worked full-time. The newspaper cutting was all about evening classes at the local college for mature students who wanted to improve their English and Maths. The classes were free to encourage older people like myself who had for whatever reason left school without completing their education.

I signed up and was so excited that I was going to learn all about English grammar….

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

As you will read below things weren’t quite as I imagined. 😢 Yesterday while deleting old files off my computer I found the notes I kept. I’m sure my friend Sally and Linda will remember my encounter with Further Education at my local college as I posted about it at the time.

Day 1 of 32:  The Introduction

Well, here’s my posting about the first evening at the local college as a mature student.  Was I inspired?  No. I kept telling myself, it’s just the first class, Paula.  Please don’t expect too much from it. I knew we wouldn’t be sitting down with our pens paused over a blank page in our writing pads, learning how to use full stops and commas on the first night. This was a night for meeting the rest of the class and the teacher. 

Okay, so now you know, I’m an impatient writer, who wanted to get on with the learning.

The Teacher, I will call him, Mr C from now on, wasn’t the all-inspiring teacher, I was hoping for.  You know the sort I mean.  The one you can look up to, and respect because he hold the magical key to your brighter future.

To have a teacher sit there, and tell you that he has problems with his schoolwork, and has difficulties with his written English. 

(Excuse me, I thought you were going to teach us, Mr Teacher.)

Okay, so you could say, he was saying “Don’t worry people we’re all in the same boat together. There nothing to be ashamed of.”

However, I wanted this man to inspire me, to be my ‘Indiana Jones’ to tell me, “I can help you, I’m here to take you on a journey of discovery.  I will unlock the secret code to the language known as English.” Instead I was thinking oh no!

Our first task was to write down details about person sitting next us. Their name, job, favourite food, and colour. This was fine, I could do that. After all these nine people had joined the class for the same reasons I had, hadn’t they?

Now I hit my first hurdle. In total there was only nine students. Most had paired up before I got there, which meant I was the odd one out. So I asked the teacher what should I do.  He smiled and humoured me while I filled in the slip paper.

The next problem I had was when he asked us to introduce the person who details we had written down.  Yes, you guess it; I had to read out his details.

He smiled and said “Sorry, I got that wrong, Paula I should have written down your details. Could you please introduce yourself to the class?”  

Okay, time for me to overcome my shyness, and I introduced myself.

Next, we had to do an assessment test to find out just what our problems were. This was done on a computer and covered spelling, punctuation, and grammar.  While four of the class took the test, the teacher suggested to the rest of us.

“Would we like to take a break?” 

The lesson was a two hour class and we hadn’t been there very long.

Of course, the smokers disappeared in a cloud of smoke.  I went to speak to Mr C about my writing problems as Mr Andrew who I had spoken to on the phone, and met at the enrolment session had suggested I did. 

Mr C seemed eager and impatient to join the smokers. Lucky for him; a fellow classmate interrupted me as I was explain what I hoped to learn from the classes. The student was asking if she too had time to join the rest of the class outside. He said, “Yes” and followed her out to join the smokers.  Left alone in the room I went over to join other classmate who was sitting alone. She, like me, didn’t partake in the deadly weed.  

Photo by Heorhii Heorhiichuk on

While waiting for the class to come back, I went on the computer to do the test and was soon joined by three other students who had returned to the class.  Twenty minutes later, Mr C came back. He retold the story of how his sister had missed most of her schooling because of childhood accidents and other problems.

Once I had finished the test on the computer, I sat down and noticed the two people sitting next to me were busy filling in forms.  So I asked, for one, only to be told, it wasn’t important for me to fill one in, and had I finished doing the test on the computer.

On the table in front of me was another form I hadn’t seen.  On looking around, I saw another student filling in that form.  Again, I asked if I needed to fill one in.

“Oh, didn’t I give you one?” said Mr C

While I was filling out the form, Mr C explained there were two kinds of people in the world, organise and disorganise people.  While some would say he’s disorganised about work, he explained he was not. He liked having things in their places. “All in order in their box files on the shelves,” he said with a grin.  “Now where have I put those pinks slips I’m supposed to give out to you all.”

One of the students asked when would he be taking the test on the computer. Mr C looked up at the clock, and said “Don’t worry; you can do that next week.”  

“I haven’t got a blue folder,”  asked another student.

As he passed her a folder, he said, “Oh sorry, oh dear I’ve seemed run out of white stickers, never mind, I’ll bring some more next week.”

At this point, my heart sunk. I felt I was reliving my school days, and I wasn’t going to be learning anything to help me fulfil my dream.

Oh well, I hope it will get better. I’ll tell all next week.

Photo by Kat Jayne on

If you enjoyed reading this I will share more tomorrow. I must warn you it doesn’t get any better.


  1. Paula, what a demoralising experience that sounds. Good for you to keep going with your education after facing such an uninspiring start like that. I’m looking forward (with horror!) to reading your next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

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