Jiminy Cricket, Photolithography fascination, and more. In this episode, Andy, Robin and Adam share stories from their school pasts that have left a memorable impact. What were some cataclysmic moments? What special talent had Adam mesmerised? Plus, find out who would would be Andy's match in terms of rebelliousness!
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Hi, I'm Andy Psarianos.
Hi, I'm Robin Potter.
Hi, I'm Adam Gifford.
This is the School of School podcast.
Welcome to the School of School podcast.
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Okay, welcome back to the School of School podcast. We are here with the usual suspects, Andy, Adam, hello.
So I would like to throw it out there to you two, and I guess to myself, because we've all had good and bad experiences at school, and you can choose whatever it is, but something that made an impact on your lives looking back, share one or two stories about something that had impact, be it good or be it bad, and how that impacted you.
Do you mind? I'll start. Two primary school teachers, Ms. Webb and Mrs. Univich. Mrs. Univich was this amazing lady. She was quite feisty, I don't know if you'd call it back in the late '70s, but she used to go on the most amazing holidays from New Zealand, which at the time air travel was a big deal, and she used to bring us back presents. And I'll never forget, she went to Africa one time and brought back these little carved animals, and you put your hand in the bag and I pulled out, my mum's still got it, this little carved lion. But the reason why it was important was because the stories that she told about these other places that were otherworldly, I'm sure that fed in massively to my huge passion for travel and just acceptance of these places, you've got to get out there and see them. And the other one was Ms. Webb who had the voice of an angel. Genuinely, she sung like you've never heard anyone sing before.
I hadn't as a wee boy. I think I had her when I was about five or six. And I think I was just staggered that human beings could do this. And again, the common thread of this curiosity part of just this is incredible, I didn't know humans could be this incredible. Because when she sung, for whatever reason, it utterly moved me. I mean she was professional. I don't know, I guess in New Zealand at the time you couldn't make a living from it because I think she works with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra now as a mentor or something. So those two people, I think, have had a profound effect on that curiosity, love of people, love of difference, love of all those things through Mrs. Univich. And with Ms. Webb, just that humans can do some pretty amazing, touching things, and you don't quite know what it's going to be that can move some people or have a profound impact on some people. So I think that those are my two pretty easy takeaways actually.
And very positive at that.
Yeah, there's a few glimpses from primary school that I remember which were significant, but there was one event that happened in my education that was really significant and that was I was in grade 10 in Montreal, so Year 10 if you want, in the UK. So the vice principals used to come around every classroom every morning. Just what they did. We had homerooms, so I don't know if that still happens, but my homeroom was history. And so every morning, the first class I had was my history class. And they'd come around every morning and they'd have a little flip chart. Not a flip chart, what do you call those things? Clipboard. And they would say, "Okay John, where were you during period two? Because you weren't in class." And of course, my name was always on that list because I skipped class constantly. I was just horrible student in high school.
And so I can't remember if it was Mr. Fagan or Mr. Ray, it was one of the two vice principals, I can't remember who it was. And he said, "Okay, Andy, where were you during second block, and fourth block, and fifth block?" And I was shrugging and giggling or doing whatever I used to do at the time. And he said, "Where are you going to be going next year?" He basically expelled me from school right there and then in front of my whole class. Yeah, that was it. It's like we don't want you in this school anymore. That was how it was done. And that was the worst thing that ever happened to me and, bizarrely, also the greatest thing that ever happened to me because that was the catalyst that set me on a different journey, which is what I really needed. So that was really significant.
So next year I went to a different secondary school, but there's something here that I want to point out because this is significant, I think. Clearly the school told my parents. My parents never made a fuss, which is remarkable really, and I don't know if I would be able to do that. I don't even think we talked about it. It was just clear that they knew, but we didn't have to talk about it. We sat down and said, "Okay, what are we going to do? Where do you want to go?" And I found this programme in this other secondary school, which was a photolithography course, which I didn't even know what it was, but it involved photography and I was passionate about photography then.
And actually when I was skipping class, most of the time I was actually in the dark room. There was a dark room in the school, because I was in the yearbook committee and I was the official photographer of the yearbook committee, and I was in a dark room, and I was developing photos and working in a dark room. And photolithography sounded interesting. It was a technical vocational high school, they had auto mechanics, and electronics, and one of the programmes was photolithography, and I thought that was interesting. And then I found the greatest teacher and the most significant mentor of my life, a guy called Dave Thomas was my teacher who let me be who I was, and let me succeed in my own way, and that set me on the journey. So that's the significant thing for me. That's what happened to me. So what about you, Robin?
I don't have a good story the way you two have just had.
That's not true, come on.
Impactful. Only because I went back, and I was thinking about primary school and my teachers. And the one thing that I did think about was it was year one.
Yeah. And we had the Jiminy Cricket Club. My teacher, Ms. Swanson had created this and had this every year. And I thought this was going to be so exciting because it basically was if you kept your desk neat and tidy, and you sat up straight, and you maybe got a question correct, if you were the student of the day, you got this little Jiminy Cricket figurine on your desk.
I mean I was so excited about that. And that was a motivation for me. And also, you got a link added to your chain, it was a paper link for each student up at the front of the class. And so every time you did something worthy of a Jiminy Cricket link, it would be added. And then I believe at the end of the term, that person who had the most links, something special happened. And honestly, I don't even remember what it was at this point. I thought it was the greatest thing, and I remember going home and showing my mom I had this Jiminy Cricket sat on my desk, and I was able to keep it for the day. And my mom looked at that and said, "Well, that's wonderful. But that didn't happen with your brother." So I have an older brother, he was a little more Andy, a little bit more of a rebel, and his link was forever being cut.
Never had the Jiminy Cricket on his desk. He spent more time in the principal's office, I'm sure, than he did in the classroom, and it was actually devastating for him.
And it's always stuck with me that here are two very different students, number one, and two very different views of the same teacher, the classroom, and how this whole thing played out. And I've never forgotten that because I guess the point is that every person is different, every student's different. And especially nowadays, when we talk so much about mental health, I mean my brother, year one, was starting off at a disadvantage, and he's never forgotten her, and he's never forgotten the Jiminy Cricket Club, I can tell you that, as I also have not. But just how that started off our school careers, either on the right foot or the wrong foot.
Year one is so important. That's a fascinating story. I don't know why you said that wasn't an interesting story.
Yeah, it's massive.
That's massive. Wow, there's a lot to learn from that. There's a lot to unpack].
Yeah, lot to unpack. That's right.
Yeah. I have an inkling I'd like your brother.
Yes, you would, absolutely. Oh, you two would hit it off.
Oh, boy. Yeah. Well, there you go.
All right, well that's our mini episode. I loved it. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for joining us on the School of School podcast.