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No Starts – No Finishes

October 31, 2012
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Thoughts From The Corner

Recently I met an ex-student of mine – perhaps more to the point is that the ex-student met me.

Usually I am asked, ‘Are you still doing private English tutoring?’ To this I look blankly and say something like, ‘Yes I am. I recognise your face but I can’t remember your name.’  Over the years I have tutored hundreds of GCSE English students in both classrooms and as a one to one tutor and many names fall by the wayside. The meeting with the aforementioned student set me a-thinking of what Li Ho said:

The past, the present, where do they end?

A thousand years are gone with the wind.

Li Ho, Tang Dynasty (618 – 907)

To the student I was her English teacher and at the conclusion of the academic year (in which she achieved an A*), that was the end of that and she moved on to take her ‘A’ levels, one of which was ‘A’ level Sociology. She then progressed to university and completed a Sociology degree before taking up a post as a Social Worker.

I am not convinced that she ‘started and finished’ her courses. I think that Li Ho would have us see life as one without ‘pasts and presents’. All time is one because the past does not end and therefore the present does not start. Li Ho tells us, ‘A thousand years are gone with the wind.’ No beginning – no ends; simply that ‘Time’ is a ‘oneness’ and that the winds of life take it and move it seamlessly ever-onwards. No beginnings and no ends.

This particular ex-student of mine entered the education system, as a mature student, with a desire and willingness to progress through it and onto a professional career. She saw it as one step after another, one academic course after another – stop one, start another – stop one, start another – stop one, start another.

Looking at it from her point of view she was correct but looking at it from my point of view (as her GCSE English tutor) I view her progress as ‘one’ – no starts and no finishes. After all, a thousand years do indeed go with the wind.

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