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.
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.
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?
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?
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 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
All Sally’s books are available from
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6
And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2
If you missed previous reminiscences, check them out here:
Look for future interviews in this series to be posted on Sunday evenings AEST.
Geoff Le Pard
with more to follow.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.