Back in 1992 Elisabeth Halls joined City College Norwich as a French teacher, covering for the Head of Languages Department.
Elisabeth says about her career at the college:
“When I agreed to do some cover in 1992 for Terry Henderson, the then Head of the Languages Department, little did I know I’d still be working here in 2016!
I’ve had a career spanning many happy years as a language teacher, 6th Form Tutor, Work Skills and Key Skills teacher and now Curriculum Services Support (CSS).”
In competition with other language course providers, the college was fortunate to have a strong team of language experts. Languages on offer included French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian.
There were two language laboratories, one of which was digital. A great resource, as far as Elisabeth is aware unlike anything available in other schools or Colleges at the time.
Elisabeth recalls the department was thriving.
“I seem to remember that we had a team of about 30. This included full-time and part-time teachers; all busy getting Norfolk inhabitants to speak a foreign language!
This was either for the purpose of going to university, improving career prospects, holidaying or simply pleasure. It just goes to prove that English people can be good at languages!”
The feelings of nostalgia appear especially when Elisabeth walks past B29a (her old office) and she remembers the past. She does still express surprise with the importance of languages today, that the language department formally closing in 2008.
However, Elisabeth is also conscious of the need to move with the times! She has witnessed major changes in the college – both structural and managerial and says;
“These 125th anniversary celebrations are the perfect opportunity to raise the phoenix from the ashes and to praise what was once an asset to the reputation of the College.”
Relocating, retraining and returning……
In January 2008, Elisabeth left the College to relocate to her native country to study Naturopathy saying;
“I wanted to start a new career as an alternative therapist, having already qualified as a Reflexologist in England.
However, after a period of 4 months, I was back not only in Norwich but at the College! This was thanks to support from Alison Shaw who was managing the 6th Form Centre under the watchful eye of Steve Gurastky!”
Elisabeth is still using her teaching skills but these days in her CSS role stating;
“I have realised how valuable teamwork between teachers and CSS is. This aspect that was overlooked in the 1990’s until society moved on and the College became more inclusive in its recruitment of students.”
Georgia has been at the college since 2014, and hopes to continue with another year starting in September 2016. During her time at college, Georgia has been on Ready2, Performing Arts and Professional Cookery Courses.
Georgia says one of the memories that sticks out most in her mind is evading ‘The Hawk’. Georgia explains in her own words:
“When I was on the Ready2 course in 2015, one of the members of security staff (can’t remember his name, but I know he has left now) earned himself the name ‘The Hawk’. The smokers within our group had a habit of seeing how long we would get away with smoking in non-smoking areas (shocking I know, usually beside the doors towards the staff car park).
It got to the point that if we saw him we would say ‘Hawk’ and then spread out in different areas for a laugh (we were a pretty big group).”
Georgia goes on to tell of another memorable time with the college:
“I went on a ghost hunt with a Teaching Assistant on an off campus college trip. It was extremely fun and we had some unexplained experiences! It turns out I wasn’t the only one as talking to others they too have shared almost identical stories…
That, I most definitely won’t forget as it’s just creepy!”
A friend for life
While at college, Georgia says she had one of the best teachers she’s ever had. Becky Watkinson helped Georgia to realise her full potential and because of Becky, Georgia is now trying to be who she wants to be.
As well as having an excellent teaching experience, Georgia also made a close friend who has stood by her longer than anyone else. She says:
“I didn’t think I would get that opportunity but it’s one thing I am most definitely thankful to college for.”