Martin, you asked us to post what the teaching experience is like in your workshop. I am speaking for all 12 of us when we say; teachers in schools never paid us the kind of attention you give. I'm just going to say it straight out because we are mostly Black British and Caribbean adults who went to school in the 1980s and that experience left me numb. All of us in the class went through the worst disinterest because nobody thought we were creative because we weren’t musicians and none of us could ‘rap’ in the late 80s.
You have restored our faith in ourselves because of your incredible knowledge of books and films and the things you’ve taught us about narration in everyday life. I can never thank you enough for giving me the inspiration to write my story about my Caribbean life in London and the people who’ve been a part of my life experience. Me and the others were talking about how you show us the value of that. Actually living real lives, bringing up our kids and changing from teenagers to grown-ups, who’ve lived the drama of Black British life. If your teaching wasn’t enough, your sense of humour as a Black man and professional businessman has forced us to think beyond the usual clichés. We are all studying how to construct characters’ stories through Black sociology, reading Paul Gilroy and Professor Stuart Hall, and it’s amazing how much it helps to see ourselves in the history of changing Britain and the role we’ve played in social change. We all thank you for getting us thinking and writing according to proper academic standards. We've paid for this teaching experience, and it's worth more than money.
Monica Armstrong | Autumn Class of 2017