My Life as a Teacher: Part 4 Addendum 2: Live Television.


Jeez. As I posted my last few blog entries I kept remembering more and more incidents, situations and conditions about my life teaching. The whole thing was entirely unconventional. I’d need to write a book to include even a fraction of the goofy and bizarre things that happened along with the mundane.

When I taught sociology and studying skills on the Knowledge Network from 1897 to 1992, the conditions in the studio were as far removed from what went on in a classroom as can be in terms of physical environment. The studio was always super hot with huge lights needed to ensure good colour on the set. There were many people directly involved in the on-air production: 3 camera operators in the studio with me as well as the floor director, the overall director in the control room as well as a number of technicians overseeing the quality of the picture and other aspects of the production. Timing was extremely important. The floor director would count me down at the beginning of the hour but every segment of the program was timed to the second. At the end of the program the floor director would count me out.

Dan Moscrip was most often the director but others were also involved. My buddy Roger Loubert volunteered regularly to man the phones for the call-in section of the program. That was especially important because NIC was responsible for the production of the telecourses and no one came forward to pay for anyone to man the phones. Roger did a great job. Much appreciated. This was really live television on a shoestring.

After I did my thing in the studio, I would hop into my rental car and head into town with Roger sometimes. But I also did other things. I have lots of family in the Vancouver area but I had very little time to visit anyone. I did spend some time with my father-in-law who was in a long term care hospital conveniently located just steps away from the studios in Burnaby. Then I’d get back to the airport for my flight home and back to my ‘normal’ life.

NIC, at that time, was a distance education operation. I was considered a tutor and not an instructor. It was verboten to refer to ourselves as instructors and we didn’t have classes, we had study groups. Most of our students were spread all over the north island and we were in contact with them mostly by phone and by mail. When I started at NIC in 1983 I was put in charge of 18 courses as tutor in subjects ranging from Canadian History to French to studying skills, anthropology, geography and sociology. These were strangely fun times. It was really a lot of work keeping up with the content of so many courses so I could be in a position to answer student questions. A lot of the grading was handled by  tutors at Athabasca University in Alberta, where most of our packaged courses originated. I developed the studying skills courses myself on the basis of Tony Buzan’s program laid out in his book, Use Your Head. Tony later went on to head an international self improvement organization but his mother lived in White Rock and I had him on my program once. I’ll see if I can dig that up.

I think I’ll write at least one more post on my teaching experiences. There’s so much to tell. Stay tuned.

4 thoughts on “My Life as a Teacher: Part 4 Addendum 2: Live Television.

  1. Indeed that period of Exploration and Discovery when it came to these Emerging Interactive Technologies were very instructive in my Life Long Quest to describe the CANADA EXPERIENCE that i’ve been fortunate to Document. Very grateful for the time we were able to Experiment back then, and I will always be grateful for the One Time that I sat in , as one of the Panel of Communicators that you had on Air ; ( and I remember with great Memory of when a caller , calling from Victoria wanted to get a better handle on certain Mind Maps , which I gleefully jumped in the discussion with her , using the opportunity to put certain theories I had on Visual Thinking and Image thinking AND EVEN SPOKE OF THE VISUAL LANGUAGE EXPERIENCE of mine and Mind that I was exploring … ) LOTS OF GREAT MEMORIES of THE DEBRIEFING AND TALKS WE HAD AFTER OR BEFORE THE PROGRAM ROGER *…

    1. Those were interesting times, Roger. You were so gracious volunteering like that but like you say, you got something out it too. I knew you did. I’m glad you read my post and responded.

      1. Yes it was quite special when I ran into your Blogs . They also reawakened some part of the FESTIVAL IMPLOSION MAILLARDVILLE* experience and with what SFU ARCHIVES have done with LE SOLEIL DE COLOMBIE , it was interesting exploring Articles written about that Event* , Experience* , Exploration and Discovery of what became for me a fascinating introduction to the RIDDLE , PUZZLE and ENIGMA That this ever so intriguing VILLAGE represents in my LIFE TIME QUEST………. One day when your in town* , let’s have a sit down!!!!

      2. I remember Le Soleil de Colombie. How could I forget. We actually don’t get to Vancouver often these days and when we do it’s always to visit my daughters and my grandkids. I haven’t even seen some of my brothers and sisters in ages. My health isn’t the greatest at the moment. I hope it improves again soon! Then maybe I’ll have more energy to be away from home. On top of that, I’m very plugged into my community here. I chair the museum board, I am on a couple of homelessness and affordable housing boards and I’m on the economic development strategic committee here…and I try to get some time to paint, draw, print, etc…and write, of course. Still, it would be fun to have a sit down some time.

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