00:02 My name’s Alison J I’m head of learning and teaching at the London College of Fashion. I do teacher training, I teach on dissertations, I do educational projects and innovations, I work with course teams on curriculum designer delivery, I work with students on projects, on reflective practice, I make the tea.
00:24 I never really saw myself as a career woman, I never I wasn’t I just had no idea what I was going to do, there was lots of things I thought I’d like to do, but I never had that sense of vocational purpose or a particular field that I was desperate to be in.
00:39 I enjoyed school for the first 5 years and then I didn’t. It changed from being a grammar school to a comprehensive from the end of my 5th form. It was a time of transition and the school for me lost its identity plus I was probably becoming a grumpy teen, starting to feel that you know a convent grammar school was not really where I wanted to be.
01:05 My first degree was in modern foreign languages, largely because that was the thing I was best at at school and I had no idea what to do when I went to university and then when I came out the careers people in the early 80s couldn’t tell me what a good thing to do with languages would be, and they said, oh you could work in a bank and I though oh, so I kind of felt my way a bit and I really had, I’ve had quite an eclectic road my first job was at the Royal Institute of British Architects, then I moved into interpreting Italian interpreting for a computer consultancy, then I moved to Dorset and trained as a reflexologist worked in a natural medicine clinic, moved to Farnham, had two small children, did interpreting and a friend kept saying, you really ought to get into teaching, why don’t you do a bit of teaching. I’d think ‘oh no I really don’t want to do that’. And then I sort of was dragged kicking and screaming into part time teaching, loved it, completely loved it.
02:02 Got my teacher training in the early 90s, and somehow then I never left creative arts HE I never really meant to stay but, but that’s I think I found a spiritual home, I think I found all the things I’d done before other than maybe the reflexology I just thought, this doesn’t feel worthwhile, this doesn’t feel like it’s got a value or a purpose for me and higher education did give me that and it still does.
02:27 My father left school at 14 and subsequently set up his own book business and did all his learning as a very mature man so, I think, he was keen for me to go to university and have educational opportunities that he hadn’t had. He was, he was a man I wanted approval from, and I do remember the day my A level results came and how pleased he was, I was the baby, my sisters are 18 and 14 years older than me, baby of the family completely unexpected, mother died when I was at university in my second year, very suddenly and then 18 months later just as I was doing my finals my father died.
03:04 The thing was I was so shattered and I think I just wanted to get out, to me that undergraduate experience was hideous, I was surrounded by people who were saying I’ve just had a fantastic time at university and I was thinking my god I can’t wait for it to be over, and when my father then, did die I remember thinking, oh my god you know, how am I going to ratify my decisions, you know who’s going to be my, my kind of touchstone really. So yes that was a massive, I think I had to do an awful lot of growing up in terms of being an individual in my own right and I think what I kept not finding was value in what I was doing. I kept starting a job and I always stayed in them for a reasonable period of time but starting a job and just thinking, mmh this isn’t it either and that awful sense of you know 3 weeks in thinking oh god I’ll have to stay a year cos you can’t possibly leave after 3 weeks, you just think oh this isn’t for me either, I’ll give it a go.
03:57 And then the first afternoon I taught I remember just thinking, this is great, why didn’t I do this years ago?