Geography lessons

The walks at the weekend were fantastic to get a look at the Alps close up. I was constantly reminded of my geography lessons from back in school. I can remember quite a bit about those classes and sometimes wonder why I didn’t take up geography as a career. It was one of those subjects, and there weren’t many, that seemed easy to learn and to understand.

Anyway, we had a teacher called Ms. Fox and while she had her moments (I remember learning line dancing at one point), overall she had a great enthusiasm for all things geographical. We learned about volacanos, the different types of rock, rivers and lakes, the weather systems in central France, freeze thaw erosion and so on. While Ireland is equipped with some fine examples of the geographical features Ms. Fox taught us, I only realise now why she was so excited about them.

When you see the glaciers coming down the slopes, the valleys they have carved out many thousands of years ago, the rock layers in the cliffs, the morraines of abandoned rock left behind, the scree slopes, the ravines and waterfalls it all seems to make sense. Seeing these things in the flesh rather than in a text book gives you a far greater appreciation of the forces and times involved. It’s like walking through a geography book chapter.

Due to rising insurance costs our school stopped trips overseas the year or two before I started school. It’s a terrible shame because if school children could walk through what I experienced at the weekend I’m sure they’d come away with a much better understanding and respect for what’s around them. Or am I staring through some rosy tinted glasses?


3 responses to “Geography lessons

  1. Our Geography teacher was an absolute classic. He was outstanding. We used to have a double on Fridays before lunch so one of his ideas was that we would go on a “field trip” to the beach and on the way we would “find” a football.

    We were his last ever leaving certificate class. He was off on sick leave after finishing the year with is and died the following year of an illness at ony 50 years of age I think.

    As well as being a brilliant teacher I remember a gem from our mock leaving cert. “How many times do I have to tell ye ignorant country gobshites that potholes are not features of erosion!”

    As a disclaimer our hometown has a population of about 10,000 and about half our class would have come from the villages around. I presume it was to them he was referring 😉

  2. I am that person that studied geography at university (after all my father was my geography teacher and my aunt was also a geography graduate and I had to carry on the family tradition!) It’s true seeing things like corries, hanging valleys, u-shaped valleys, roche moutones, terminal/medial/lateral moraines, kettle holes (gosh I do remember a lot) in real life is a true lesson in the force of nature!!

  3. Geography rules!!! Nice story. I studied Geography in University and now work as a Geographer in the US. I did the majority of my studies on Greenland, hopefully one day I can actually go and visit and complete my research!

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