An Authentic Connection



Andy Fisher:
Yeah, yeah, and that’s about authenticity as well. A long time ago I realized, I went down cynical, the pastoral route in teaching. Which is, I teach my subject, but I also, my career development has not been towards becoming a headmaster or a head of department. It’s been about being responsible for the pastoral care of the peoples I teach. For seven years, I was Housemaster, I had 116 kids who I was responsible for.

Andy Fisher:
And if there was a bereavement, or a divorce, or significant illness. I was the front-line of call for that family, and for that child, and you don’t have authentic connection, unless you come authentically yourself, and a good example of that is that during the last four or five years. My father had a very rapid onset of cancer, and he died, and rather than hide that from the kids, I bought that into my conversation in the room with them, we talked about death, and we talked about bereavement, and we… Because when you’re teaching literature those themes come up in time.

Craig:
They’re in there, right.

Andy Fisher:
Yeah, you can either pretend that you are not a human being, going through what you’re going through, or you can take the risk of saying this is where I’m at, and this is what I… You know, guys if I’m struggling a bit at the moment, this is why. What was remarkable about that, was the degree of compassion that they bought to that relationship. I’ll always stand by the idea that I’ve learned more from my kids than I’ve taught them, and any decent teacher I think that’s the case. Because these young people are remarkable in terms of their integrity, and their openness, and their willingness to embrace [crosstalk 00:09:05] change.

Craig:
In a variety, there’s so much difference.

Andy Fisher:
Yeah, and it’s really easy to adopt this idea of. I’m older, I’m the teacher, they’re the child, they don’t know anything, and my God when you get into their worlds, and the things they’ve gone through. It’s really humbling that they’re able to turn up, some of these guys, and be in the classroom at all.

Craig:
Right.

Andy Fisher:
In that sense yeah, It’s a career that’s a privilege, and the challenge of teaching these days is all of the politics, and the hoop-jumping that you need to do in order to get the grades that they’re required to have, but I think of my teaching as, my subject matter is a closed source, upon which I hand the important stuff. Which is, having an authentic connection with these young people, and becoming a role model in the truest sense, and that not a model of how to get it right, but a model of what you do when you get it wrong as well, you know.

Andy Fisher:
I love it, it’s a great job.