No. 3

My geography career came to a premature end when I was about 14 or 15.  Roll back a few months to the day of the moon landings when the Howson family, all 8 of us, left for a few years in Jamaica courtesy of my father’s job (Inspector of Taxes, since you asked).  I returned on my own to the UK at the end of the summer to boarding school. On my first day at this prime educational establishment, with my parents on the far side of the world, I found myself standing in the corridor with girls asking me what classes I was going to as I had to choose subjects.  So I made my O level choice in those 5 minutes in the corridor as the bell went for the first lesson.  I decided Geography sounded like an easier option than the Physics alternative – I mean, who wouldn’t? – and duly attended Geography classes for the first term or so.  The day came, however, when my will finally broke.  The small, rather rotund nun who was teaching us was standing at the front of the class saying “Lumbumbashi! Now isn’t that a wonderful word – all say it with me!” and she conducted a rousing chorus of lum-bum-bashi. 

I could stand it no longer and went to the Physics master to announce that I was starting Physics forthwith.  He, unfortunately, was not quite so enthusiastic as they were halfway through the course by that stage but I perservered, borrowed the books and somehow passed the end of term exam. He did acknowledge my presence in class after that and I did have a brief flirtation with geography again a few years later, but that’s another story.

I have always found that one of the biggest incentives to do something is someone telling me I can’t. Mmm…


4 thoughts on “No. 3

  1. Those nuns have a lot to answer for. It was nuns who encouraged me to go into teaching 🙂

    I wish I’d done geography past S2 -but you couldn’t do geography AND history. Is that still the case? Now there’s an issue for curriculum reform. Seems like these days we need a good grasp of both!

  2. I think it’s possibly quite hard to do more than one of Geography, History & Modern Studies. Our S1 lot are doing these on rotation at the moment so if they only do one of the three next year are going to have had little more than an introduction to the subjects. Seems like a good sales pitch this year may be more important than a curriculum!

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