Roger Southard

Roger Southard

Christmas Ukulele Workshop

I left school labelled an educational failure but with "possible latent talents". Not knowing what these might be I joined the Civil Service and trained as a draughtsman for the Ordnance Survey. I soon realised that one of my talents was growing shoulder length hair and feeling anti-authority (with all the arrogance of youth). The chance find of a discarded Sunday Times on a bus opened my eyes to a wider world than that on offer in our home's Mirror & News of The World. Armed with a dictionary and Civil Service support I enrolled with the Open University and this in turn enabled me to gain a place at Southampton University to study Sociology (a mature student with a grant only needed to turn up to the interview to be offered a place). 

After 3 years of joy I only knew that I no longer wanted to be a draughtsman but had no idea beyond this. The obvious choice was social worker, so I got a job as an unqualified Probation Officer with the expectation that I would train after 2 years. As the chip on my shoulder was still evident I thought I would see if I could confound my teachers by taking a Master's degree at the LSE. I just scraped in and eventually qualified as a Probation Officer working in Southampton, Bristol and Bath. This was interesting and often challenging work covering courts, community and prisons. 

During this time I became increasingly interested in working with students and began to supervise trainees and to offer lectures at Bristol University. This interest took me to Wiltshire College where I trained as a teacher and have now finished teaching Social Science to social work students after 15 years. I think that my own experience of education affects the way I teach and I hope that learning is not felt as threatening and that students gain the confidence and self-belief that many adults lack. 

Music & books have always been my passions and I was lucky enough to join a ukulele group a few years ago. When I retired it seemed natural to combine teaching and music so I offered to put on Ukubasics with Frome Community Education and was delighted when this was accepted. I really enjoy teaching new players and can ony hope that the students get as much pleasure as I do. 

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