Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my author and blogger friends share reminiscences of their school days.
This week, I am pleased to introduce Kevin Cooper, author, songwriter and blogger. Kevin took a keen interest in the reminiscences previously shared by others and I am delighted that he agreed to share his own.
Before we begin the interview, I’ll allow Kevin to tell you a little of himself:
Kevin Cooper is an Author & Songwriter. After years of studying, and even more, years working in education, and management in the US, he returned to his hometown in England where he finally settled down to focus on his writing and music. He has since authored several works and recorded/released his first full music album.
Kevin Cooper obtained an M.Ed in Secondary Education at Grand Canyon University. He also did some post-graduate studies in Christian Counselling and Psychopathology at Asbury Theological Seminary. He completed his baccalaureate studies in Psychology with a minor in Classical Greek from Asbury College after devoting his first two years to studying Music Composition, and Religion at Western Kentucky University.
Let’s talk school. First, could you tell us where you attended school?
I went to school in England and left high school at 16 years of age with only three CSE’s. (Now called GCSE’s) After I turned 21, I emigrated to the USA and started studying again.
Did you attend a government, private or independent school?
In England, all the schools I attended were government schools which were very much under the influence of the ‘social class’ system back then. I also attended a state school in Kentucky after moving to the US and studied for GED to pave my way into university. I attended one state university: WKU for two years and then transferred to Asbury College. After graduating, I attended Asbury Theological Seminary for two years before moving again and enrolling in The Grand Canyon University where I received a fellowship.
What is the highest level of education you achieved?
M.Ed in Secondary Education. My teaching subject is English.
What work or profession did you choose after school and was there anything in school that influenced this choice?
I started out as a class tutor after being approached by a couple of professors. Later I did some private tutoring and substitute teaching. I obtained a part-time position as a music teacher for a short while then went into management for a Fortune 500 company and also obtained a part-time lecturer position for general studies. While I look back upon my years as an educator with fondness, I never set out, nor intended to become an educator. My passion was to become a clinical psychologist, but I allowed myself to be steered away from it.
What is your earliest memory of school?
Singing, All Things Bright and Beautiful in assembly at Marfleet Primary School. I loved the song from the first time I heard it and learned it quickly as it resonated with me as I played in my grandma’s gardens.
What memories do you have of learning to read?
Reading Dick and Jane books with Spot the dog.
What memories do you have of learning to write?
Graduating from printing words to joining the letters of the alphabet while writing. I found it intriguing.
What do you remember about math classes?
I hated math. The only time I enjoyed it was when we were given a project to take note of the different kinds of vehicles that passed us on the road and create a chart.
What was your favourite subject?
History. I became entranced with the stories of inventors. Especially those like George Stephenson who were from poor families and told they would never amount to anything as a child.
What did you like best about school?
As a child, getting away from home. As an adult, I couldn’t get enough of learning new things.
What did you like least about school?
As a child, being bullied even though upon reflection this was short-lived for me because I began to fight back after a while. Even so, it still had a profound influence on my mental state which was already a mess from being part of a dysfunctional family. As an adult, studying for exams. I loved research projects and writing term papers, but hated standardised exams with multiple choice and true/false questions.
How do you think schools have changed since your school days?
I think here in England there is more equality and less of a social class stigma these days. Although looking upon it almost as an outsider having lived in the USA the good part of 20 years, I could be mistaken.
What do you think schools (in general) do well?
I think schools follow curricula activities very well, unfortunately, these are not always mandated by the schools.
How do you think schools could be improved?
First, there needs to be a far larger budget for schools in England. Class sizes need to be reduced and all teachers should have at least one assistant.
There needs to be some kind of weekly after-school mandate for parents and teachers to educate and address current/ongoing issues that affect learning. Schools should have specially assigned social workers in the schools that teachers can go to for advice and support as they are not equipped to deal with some issues. Schools also need to have a school psychologist on site.
Thank you for sharing your reminiscences of school and thoughts about education in general, Kevin. I agree with your thoughts about the budget for education, class sizes and assistants for teachers. It’s been wonderful to have you here. I’m sure others have enjoyed learning about you as much as I have.
Find out more about Kevin Cooper
On his blog:
On his author page:
Connect with him on social media
Purchase Kevin’s Books:
Purchase Kevin’s Music:
If you missed previous reminiscences, check them out here: School Days Reminiscences – the first 25.
You can also read some data drawn from the posts here, and some suggestions for how schools could be improved, as suggested by the contributors, here.
Any new interviews will be posted here on a Sunday evening AEST as they are received.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.