School Days reminiscences of Sally Cronin

School Days, Reminiscences of Sally Cronin

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Sally Cronin, author, blogger and supreme supporter of authors and bloggers. Sally is a prolific writer on numerous topics on her blog and in her publications. She seems to have an infinite capacity for supporting other writers with guest posts, reviews, blog visits and comments, and shares on social media. I am constantly in awe of her output and the esteem in which she is held and I am very grateful for the support she provides me in the online world.

I am especially pleased with the timing of Sally’s interview as today 17 March is St Patrick’s Day and Sally is Irish! She even has a lovely book of Tales from the Irish Garden, published late last year.

Tales from the Irish Garden by Sally Cronin

Before we begin the interview, I’ll allow Sally to tell you a little of herself:

I have lived a fairly nomadic existence living in eight countries including Sri Lanka, South Africa and the USA before settling back here in Ireland. My work, and a desire to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world in the last forty years, has taken me to many more incredible destinations around Europe and Canada, and across the oceans to New Zealand and Hawaii. All those experiences and the people that I have met, provide a rich source of inspiration for my stories.

After a long and very happy career, I took the step to retrain as a nutritional therapist, a subject that I was very interested in, and to make the time to write my first book. Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another eleven books since then on health and also fiction including three collections of short stories. I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.

Welcome, Sally.

Now let’s talk school. First of all, could you tell us where you attended school?

Portsmouth UK (3), Malta, Cape Town South Africa, Preston UK,

Did you attend a government, private or independent school?

All the schools were government.

What is the highest level of education you achieved?

Diplomas in Secretarial Studies and a Diploma in Nutritional Therapy.

What work or profession did you choose after school and was there anything in school that influenced this choice?

I started as a secretary in a dental practice but within a few months started training as a dental nurse which I found more interesting.

What is you earliest memory of school?

Age four arriving at the first class at primary and noticing all the names scratched out on my extremely old desk and my teacher Mrs. Miller.

What memories do you have of learning to read?

My sisters read to me and taught me the basics so I could read before I went to school. I already had a collection of books by the age of four.

What memories do you have of learning to write?

I remember the blackboard with lines drawn and beautiful letters that we had to copy and a poster with all the letters and an object that began with that letter. We all had lined copy books and we would practice a letter until we got it right.

What do you remember about math classes?

Not much I am afraid as it was not my favourite subject. I was always good at mental arithmetic and knew my times tables before I was five, but triangles and other angular objects never fascinated me. I passed it at o’level just!

What was your favourite subject?

Sally Cronin liked history best about school

I loved history and being in schools outside of my home country I got to learn far more than I would have done if locked into the curriculum in the UK. In South Africa for instance, I learnt about the Boer War from a completely different perspective and it did not paint the British in a good light. It was 1964 and I also heard about the war first hand from the grandmother of one of my friends. Living history is the best.

What did you like best about school?

Sally Cronin liked learning new things best about school

Learning new things, once the basics of reading and writing were done it was like opening a door to the world. I loved all lessons (apart from maths) and also the access to sport which I enjoyed including hockey, swimming and tennis.

What did you like least about school?

Probably leaving them as I would make friends and then two years later we would be on the move again. Then I would start again out of phase often for my age, with a different curriculum which included new subjects I was unfamiliar with that had not been taught at the previous school. It always felt that I was playing catch up and spent most of my evenings with extra homework to do that.

How do you think schools have changed since your school days?

I can only judge this by friends who still have children in school and it would seem that there is less freedom, less physical activity, less homework, and more crowded.

What do you think schools (in general) do well?

I think that schools do well with the basics and for children who are academic they provide a solid platform to secondary education.

How do you think schools could be improved?

I feel that there is a one size fits all approach to education which does not take into account the individual child’s needs or abilities. In the UK in particular there has been a push in the last decade to get children into university, and the loss of technical colleges (now rebranded as universities) that I went to for those who want a more practical approach to their careers. Also I believe that there should be a push for more apprenticeships and that some children who want to follow that route should be allowed to leave school at 14 as long as they are going into an approved apprenticeship. I understand that is happening in Australia and I think it should also be introduced in the UK and Ireland and other countries.

thank you for your participation

Thank you for sharing your reminiscences of school and thoughts about education in general, Sally. I appreciate your perspective. It’s been wonderful to have you here. I learned so much I didn’t already know about you.

Find out more about Sally Cronin

On her blog: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

 

Connect with her on social media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58

LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1

Books by Sally Cronin

All Sally’s books are available from

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

And Amazon UShttps://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

If you missed previous reminiscences, check them out here:

Charli Mills

Look for future interviews in this series to be posted on Sunday evenings AEST.

Coming soon:

Anne Goodwin

Geoff Le Pard

Debby Gies

Hugh Roberts

D. Avery

with more to follow.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.

 

143 thoughts on “School Days, Reminiscences of Sally Cronin

  1. macjam47

    Sally is such a wonderful person, blogger, writer, friend. It is always fun to learn more about her and your questions brought up some topics I hadn’t thought of. I have to agree totally with her answer to “How do you think schools have changed since your school days?” It is a much-discussed topic in my circle of friends and even with their adult children. Thanks for hosting Sally on your blog, Norah. ❤️❤️❤️.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Michelle. It was so lovely of Sally to answer my probing questions. I found her answers fascinating. Her life is very different from mine, and it is fun learning about the lives of others.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Reblog from Norah Colvin – School Days, Reminiscences of Sally Cronin | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  3. jjspina

    It’s always a pleasure to read about Sally. She is a lovely and fascinating lady who is extremely talented in everything she undertakes. Thank you for sharing her on your blog, Norah. Hugs to you both 😘 ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

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  4. Cynthia Reyes

    Interesting perspective. I hope the focus on university education doesn’t reduce the value placed on the skills to make things and repair them. China can’t make everything; making durable products that can be repaired reduces waste and a country which loses its ability to make things loses part of its soul.

    Liked by 2 people

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  5. olganm

    It’s great to catch up with Sally’s memories. I have followed her blog for a long time and have heard about some of her experiences, but it is always good to get a different perspective. And her school experience is pretty varied, for sure. Thanks so much!

    Liked by 2 people

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  6. Charli Mills

    You worldly experience as a student has definitely left an impression upon you, Sally. How amazing to get to study history from different global perspectives. I like your idea of bringing back apprenticeships. Trade schools in the US often work with local high schools, allowing students to study trades like welding or computer science instead of the secondary education track. I’m enjoying Norah’s series! Happy St. Paddy’s Day to all!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for popping over to read and comment, Charli. I’m pleased you enjoyed Sally’s interview. Her experience is vastly different from my own.

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  7. Miriam Hurdle

    You did very well, Sally, considering that you moved so many times to so many countries and changed schools. It would be hard for some students as they lost their friends. You count those experiences as positive ones that enriched your life. Even though you said you didn’t like math but you were good at mental math. This is amazing because the schools in US don’t teach too much mental math. When I go to the stores, some cashiers can use mental math to give change to customers.

    Hong Kong was under British government for 99 years. The compulsive education was up to 9th grade. The students could go to trades schools after 9th grade. In fact, the education system is like a pyramid, because of the population, not everybody gets to go to university.

    I enjoyed reading this interview. Thank you, Norah for featuring the interviews.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Miriam, I’m pleased you enjoyed the interview with Sally, and thank you for adding your own experiences and thoughts too. It seems there are some things that are similar the world over.

      Liked by 2 people

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    2. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

      Thank you Miriam and I find that today that cashiers cannot make change unless the till has told them what it is.. It confuses them if you give them the additional change so that they have to give you back a note.. It is sad… that is a basic life skill that would serve them better then knowing what a right angle is.. unless of course they are joiner or carpenter…..

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Miriam Hurdle

        Exactly, Sally, not everyone needs to know what a right angle is what a hexagon is. There were so many times that when I gave addition change, they gave me all the money back and counted from there. As a kid, I learned so many fun tricks (mental math) in calculation, and I had fun showing them to my students in the classroom. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for popping over to read Sally’s interview, Jacquie. I’ve Been Everywhere is a great song, isn’t it? I hadn’t realised it was by Johnny Cash. We’ve got an Australian version over here.

      Liked by 2 people

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  8. CarolCooks2

    A lovely interview and I fully agree that history is better learnt through travel and experiences and of course from another side always two sides to a story. Our two grandchildren especially Aston has had to deal with different schools/curriculums but is richer in other knowledge…Maths I don’t need a calculator and my mental arithmetic is fine it was the other bits with me like you but when do you need square roots and things except for certain professions…Yes, Australia has the right idea my grandson left at 14 for a recognised apprenticeship and hasn’t looked back and at 20 is flying high…Great interview and questions Sally and Norah 🙂 x It did let me share to FB ( so far) xxx

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Carol. It’s lovely that you shared some of your own experiences. I’m pleased that your grandson has done so well and hope that he continues to do so.
      Best wishes, N.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. CarolCooks2

        Thank you he is doing really well although we always thoughtn he would..But he is having a house built now and plans to build another in a years time and that is at 20 yrs old ..Again if you are a first time buyer as long as you show x amount of savings the Austraian government give you a lump sum towards it and also encourage the building of two one to live in and one to rent out..I think that is brilliant and it means if you work hard and save you get help xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

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          1. CarolCooks2

            I know Sally but much more could be done to help those who help themselves instead of helping those who won’t… I feel a rant coming on so best check the kids Salmon I will be in the doghouse if I burn that xx

            Liked by 1 person

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  9. Hugh's Views and News

    I can’t image how difficult it must have been in moving schools because of moving house. For somebody who was shy as a child, I would have found that very difficult, Sally. Making friends, only to have to make some more. I guess it’s a ‘fear’ factor that has always followed me. I was the same when I went to the very first Bloggers Bash.
    Like you, and Charli from last week’s interview, numbers weren’t my thing either.
    Another excellent overview of what schooling was like. Thank you for asking the questions, Norah.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the interview with Sally, Hugh. She has some interesting experiences and thoughts to share. I’m pleased your ‘fear’ didn’t prevent you from writing and blogging, Hugh. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  10. Jacqui Murray

    What a lovely interview. Thank you, Norah, for such thoughtful questions. I was struck by how similar our thoughts are, Sally, despite having vastly different lifestyles and histories. One point you made is a sticky point with me lately–“a push in the last decade to get children into university, and the loss of technical colleges”. Loss is the right word. We really need to refocus.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

      I agree and I think that has been highlighted by this cash for entry into the top colleges scandal. Children pushed into achieving something they may not be suited for, and one wonders how they will survive a degree course when they are so unprepared to even enter the college. Or is that smoothed over as well? There is no shame in being a non-academic and the skills I learnt at technical college put a roof over my head and food on my table as a back stop several times. It did not hinder my career and in fact I think my experience of working my way up to a senior position was a benefit.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Norah Post author

        I like your perspective, Sally. We need all kinds of people to perform all kinds of work. A university degree is of no use if you can’t use it for anything worthwhile.

        Liked by 1 person

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    2. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Jacqui. I’m pleased you enjoyed the interview. I think many of us agree that other paths to employment and success in life need equal billing to university for many.

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  11. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    How interesting. I wonder if, despite the hardships of moving schools, in looking back the positive experiences outweighed the negatives.
    I agree with your thoughts on school improvement. I have long thought apprenticeships are more suitable for many reasons for a certain age group. And vocational opportunities as well.
    Great interview, Norah and Sally. Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, D. I think there’s a lot to be said for apprenticeships and on-the-job training. I’ve often said that teaching might be better learned as an apprenticeship.

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  12. Sharon Marchisello

    I spent my entire school years in the same town, where everyone remembered every stupid thing I ever did. I often wished we could move around like “army brats” so I could be the new girl for a change and reinvent myself. Thanks for showing some of the challenges of that other lifestyle. As they say, “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      I can identify with what you’re saying, Sharon. I went to the same school for 11/12 of my schooling. I was pleased to leave the past behind and start anew when I moved away from home to go to Teachers’ College. 🙂

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  13. Darlene

    A very interesting post and as always, Sally is very entertaining. Although having to change schools was probably a bit hard on a young girl, living in a number of different countries only added to her education and flexibility. I agree, children do have to consider going into a trade if university is not an option. The trades will always be needed. My brother, the plumber ended up doing better than the rest of us and he did the worst in school!

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Sharon Marchisello

      I agree. There’s too much emphasis on going to college these days, and it’s not a good fit for everyone. Kids are graduating with mountains of debt and they still can’t get a good job. And I question how much they’re even learning.
      Not enough respect is being shown for the trade school / apprenticeship path.

      Liked by 3 people

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    2. Norah Post author

      Thanks for popping over from Sally’s to read and comment, Darlene. It was great to hear Sally’s experiences and thoughts, wasn’t it? I agree with what you said about tradespeople. They are often in big demand and earn good money. We need them always to do a good job.

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  14. Jennie

    Wonderful interview, Norah! I am thoroughly enjoying this series. It is interesting to read how different education is across the world. Sally, your memories are delightful, except for having to move and leave school every two years. Thank you Sally and Norah!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Jennie. I’m pleased you are enjoying the interviews. The experiences of Sally and Charli are very different. I look forward to reading the next ones.

      Liked by 1 person

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  15. robertawrites235681907

    Lovely to see Sally here, Norah. She does always manage to bring up some very interesting points. I am considering her comments about learning technical skills and believe she is referring to what I have always knows as trades such as electricians, plumbers and fitters and turners. It is true that some children work better with their hands and are less academic. With were the world currently is, in the midst of the digital era, I wonder how much need there will be for these practical skills going forward. Many of the practical jobs could be done by machines in the future although there will always need to be the human brain controlling the machine. It is quite concerning as our world barrels along at such frightening speed, leaving 80% of its population behind.

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
    1. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

      Thanks Robbie.. I think that there will always be a place for trades people certainly in our lifetime since most of the technology will be focused in major cities. But a robot won’t be able to change a washer, or probably find the leak in the first place, homes may become pre-fabricated but there will still be finishing touches needed by hand. And electrical work in a home and gas installations cannot be done by robot, they need to be installed and checked by a qualified engineer. In fact in a power failure when all digital appliances and assistants are silent.. very useful to have a handyman around the place. hugsxx

      Liked by 2 people

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    2. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the interview with Sally, Robbie. She does bring up some interesting points. I wonder how accurate your predictions will be in the future. I tend to think that a robot won’t be able to construct a deck or pergola as beautifully as my husband does, but I’ll probably never know. I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime. While some are pre-fabricated, they still require someone to erect them. I agree with you that the world barrels along with a frightening speed at times. I try my best to not get left behind. 🙂

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  16. K Morris Poet

    Thank you for posting this interesting interview with Sally. I also disliked maths but, as with Sally enjoyed history. I was interested to read of how history lessons in South Africa provided a different perspective on the Boer War. I would be interested though to know how the Apartheid education system (which was in force in 1964) dealt with the black peoples of South Africa. I suspect that the education provided by the white teachers would have been somewhat biased in that regard. Best wishes – Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Kevin. That’s an interesting question you pose about the education system in the 60s. I remember learning about Apartheid at school (in Australia) at the time, and even wrote a sonnet about it. I think though, that with my lack of experience, it couldn’t have much worthwhile to say.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. K Morris Poet

        You are welcome for the comment, Nora. As a teenager I went through a phase of writing to various embassies in London (UK). I remember getting a lot of material back from the Republic of South Africa’s Embassy, including quite a thick booklet on the history of that country. My recollection of it’s contents is a little hazy, but I do remember it providing a rather sanatised view of the South African Apartheid system. This was at the time when P. W. Botha was beginning the process of reforming the Apartheid system, including the repeal of the cruel Mixed Marriages Act which forbade marriage (or any sexual relationships) between members of different racial groups. It would be interesting to read your sonnet where it to turn up amongst your papers. Best wishes – Kevin

        Liked by 1 person

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thanks for sharing that additional information, Kevin. You’ve been far more politically active throughout your life than I have. I don’t think my sonnet would have had anything profound to say.

          Liked by 1 person

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  17. TanGental

    Another lovely to meet read. And what an eclectic education. Not sure I buy the negativity in how schooling has changed since we went, though Sally. Maybe you caught your friends on bad days!? But my experiences are of inner London schools across the spectrum so I can only look at them.

    Liked by 3 people

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      1. Norah Post author

        I think you’re right about social media, Sally. It does add an extra layer of concern for parents, teachers and society as a whole. I think a lot of “advancements” have been made without due consideration to their impact.

        Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      It was my pleasure to have you over here, Sally. I really enjoyed your responses to my questions your perspective on school and education. What a wonderful education travel is. I wish I’d had opportunities for more of it throughout my life.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  18. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    Today I have gone back to my childhood.. the first not the second.. and joined Norah Colvin and educator and a storyteller, to talk about my own school days. Which was eclectic to say the least. A wonderful series that shares the highs and lows of education through the decades and it will be interesting to find out how the different age groups view their days at school..

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

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