Who does he think he is, calling himself The Sociology Guy?’ I hear you say. What makes me think I know better than others out there? There are lots and lots of other teachers who have been doing this longer than I have. More established. More credible. Why should you follow my site? Well, let me tell you a story…
When I started out as a teacher in Further Education, I taught pretty much anything. From ESOL to refugees and asylum seekers to Forensic Science to 16 year olds. From GCSE English to Hair and Beauty students to Preparing to Teach to the long term unemployed. I saw it as part of my initiation into teaching. Getting on the Further Education circuit and just getting experience. One day I would be in Liverpool, the next in Crewe, and some days I would even be travelling between the two just to teach one lesson. I was a jack of all trades… and master of none!
Then one day, something changed. As a supply member of staff I was working away in the library between classes – staff rooms were reserved for the permanent staff and besides I was working across four different departments so wouldn’t have a clue which staff room to go to – when a student approached me.
‘You’re the sociology guy aren’t you?’ she said. I was lots of things at that time and never had I been called anything other than ‘the supply teacher’ before.
‘I guess so,’ I responded.
‘I need a bit of help on this assignment,’ and she held out a piece of paper. I had been teaching here and there for about nine months and nobody had ever sought out my help specifically before. But this woman had. ‘I don’t understanding this master status thing,’ she said.
‘Well, it’s when people see a characteristic or trait of somebody and that comes to define them. For example, you see me as a sociology teacher. So, that is my master status. Everything else about me disappears and you see me as ‘the sociology guy’. All of the other roles I perform cease to exist, I am no longer a father, a student, a friend, I am just… the sociology guy!’ She nodded and smiled, thanked me and then walked off. And I returned to marking a pile of Health and Social Care assignments.
Over the following months and years, being ‘the sociology guy’ became my very own master status. For a period of time I was also ‘the psychology guy’ and the ‘general studies guy’ and ‘the politics guy’, but the one that stuck was ‘the sociology guy’. Every time there was a knock on a staff room door and somebody asked for ‘the sociology guy’ colleagues would guide them to me. When I’d move to a new institution, colleagues would approach me at the photocopier and introduce themselves to ‘the new sociology guy’. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I finally stopped moving from college to college, from school to school, from community centre to… you get the idea, I became this shadowy figure in the corridors and the classrooms. The Sociology Guy.
That was ten years ago. Before I was a Curriculum Lead for Sociology. Before my Masters in Education. Before contributing resources and ideas to companies specialising in improving A level exam performance. Before helping create quality CPD resources for sociology specialists and non-specialist alike. Before creating my own You Tube channel to help students write better exam style essays. Oddly over the months since I set up this website, lots of teachers and students I have spoken to have mentioned The Sociology Guy, without realising that it was me.
On this site I hope to provide a different approach to teaching and learning sociology. One that retains a focus on getting good exam results, but also widens your understanding of the subject, and gets people thinking and talking about the subject.
“Arriving at one goal is the starting point to achieving another.” John Dewey