Dr Jeremy Greenland : student 1968/9, lecturer 1982-1984
Jeremy recalls the pride of his
fellow students at their experiences overseas, the activities they undertook on
the PGCE course and the food in the SOAS canteen.
My PGCE year, 1968-69 was
obviously a vintage year, if only because it was Geoff Whitty’s (the present
Director of the Institute) PGCE year too. Our group must have struck our tutors
as being a pretty arrogant bunch. We had all just come back from teaching a
couple of years or more in Africa and thought that our tutors were die-hard,
out-of-date colonialists. We had drunk deep at the well of Nyerere’s Education
for Self-reliance and felt very much proud of ourselves for all of that
English as a Foreign Language (EFL) was our method subject, and we had Ken
Cripwell as our main tutor. Ken's theatrical and Congo consultancy contacts lent
a touch of panache and mystery to his work which we appreciated.
The high point of the year was making a video -- yes, a video -- early one
morning in the Mile End Road to accompany the Beatles' song 'Eleanor Rigby'.
When we repaired to what turned out to be a Jewish café for breakfast, I
embarrassed everyone by asking for a bacon sandwich.
We took our PGCE exams in Chelsea Town Hall, on folding wooden desks which were
probably already in use when the Institute first opened its doors.
I returned to the Institute in later years to the EDC Department on a number of
one-year contracts. One of them, promising me a salary of £2000 and signed by
Lionel Elvin, is among my prized possessions. When I finally got a proper job,
my departure coincided with that of Peter Williams and, at the reception in
Peter's honour, I said a few words. I obviously spoke too long, and our chairman
today (Bill Dodd) took me on one side and kindly but firmly told me to be
briefer in future. I can hear him saying the same thing behind me today.
The delights of the cuisine at SOAS have been mentioned by a previous speaker. I
am happy to tell him that, in 1968, curried eggs and rice at SOAS were the best
deal going, and cost 1 shilling and three pence per portion.