‘The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.‘
Thank you for visiting my new website, focusing around my blog. Whilst the new site is being added to, you may find my old blog of interest at http://www.ryanbate.blogspot.com. As with this site, all views on my old blog are my own and not necessarily those of the organisations in which I am involved.
Speaking of those organisations in which I am involved, my time – of which there never seems to be enough – is mainly divided between my teaching ‘career’ (which pays the bills, but which I value much more deeply than that) and my contributions to the community, namely my political activism as a local councillor and my volunteering at our local ex-servicemen’s association.
In terms of teaching, my journey into teaching began nearly five years ago when I decided that the oil industry, which had previously been paying the bills, was not giving me what I wanted and so I began training for what I believed to be my vocation. I still remember the introductory lecture for my PGCE course where our lecturer invoked the words of the late Ted Wragg in proclaiming that there was no higher calling; as something of an atheist this sat perfectly well with me, though to this day I have never asked my fellow trainee, a good Catholic (and far better teacher than me), how he felt about such a claim. Since ‘qualifying’ – a word I place in inverted commas because it seems to suggest some kind of endpoint or sense of completeness that just doesn’t work for teaching – I have been privileged to have taught Geography, Politics and also Sociology in local secondary schools. As with any vocation, the work is hard and relentless but it is certainly varied. Whilst a range of intellectual, social, emotional and physical challenges may, at a distance, seem enough to put anybody off, I do believe that the things in life which have the potential to give us a sense of achievement and worth cannot come without toil and occasional doubt. I hope that this belief stays strong as I embark on a new challenge as Head of Geography.
Beyond the classroom but still in the educational sphere, I completed a Masters in Geography Education at London’s Institute of Education. For my dissertation I conducted research into how Michael Young’s concept of powerful knowledge may provide a justification for a disciplinary-based education, specifically one involving Geography. Whilst my formal research has ‘finished’, I remain interested in these ideas and how they may help us provide a philosophical framework for a rich, politically independent education system in the 21st century.
Outside of education, I have had a long involvement in politics. Currently that takes the form of serving as both a Borough councillor and a Parish councillor for my local area. This is as a Liberal Democrat, a party which I joined a decade ago, aged 16. To find out more about my work in Grappenhall & Appleton Thorn, I have a separate blog: http://www.ryanbate.mycouncillor.org.uk.
In addition to my duties as a parish councillor, I previously served on the management committee of Grappenhall’s Ex-Servicemen’s Association. The club was founded in 1921 by veterans of World War 1. Since then it has continued to serve those who have served in the forces but also the wider community. One of my main contributions to the club was hosting a weekly Tuesday Night Quiz, which I organised between November 2012 and February 2016.