The City of Liverpool CollegePeter Walsh - Joiner - The City of Liverpool College
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Peter Walsh – Joiner

Peter Walsh is a professional joiner, born and bred in Bootle, who’s been involved in education for over 25 years.


What were your motivations for starting to teach?

When I was younger, my education aspirations weren’t really that big. I didn’t do maths in senior school – I got told to sit at the back and draw – which I thought was a pretty good deal at the time. It was my joinery tutors who ended up having to teach me maths. They changed my direction, from potentially going down the wrong pathways to wanting to be the best joiner and know everything about my trade. It looked after me, being a joiner. So, part of my motivation to start teaching was down to the tutors who taught me – I like to try and give a little bit of that back to people who might not have the best opportunities.


What do you enjoy most about teaching at The City of Liverpool College?

The kids are the same every year – the names and faces change – but they’re dealing with the same issues I dealt with growing up. A lack of opportunity. A lack of aspiration sometimes. I’m not just teaching joinery; I try to teach them a little about the wider aspects of life. We have some super high-flyers and it’s about pushing them as far as they’re capable. For others, it’s about getting them to open their mind to their potential and the possibilities.


What are some concerns from new teachers?

How do you deal with a group of 16–18-year-olds, all with their own thoughts, egos and problems? I can be professional, but I can also have a laugh with the kids when it’s needed and that’s important sometimes. I’ve got a fantastic management team above me. We’re all tradespeople who’ve been on building sites most of our lives, and we look at things in similar ways.


How does your industry experience help you in your role?

Someone from a more academic teaching background probably has a completely different experience teaching. They’ll have a different skill set than your average construction worker. As such, as I’ve been in education for 25 years, but I’m still a construction specialist. My role is a combination of both, as I must give them an expectation of what they’ll see in their workplace. I’m a joiner first and foremost.


What would you say to someone considering teaching?

How will you deal with the ones that don’t want to learn? That’s the reality. You need to be prepared to dig down to understand how to make a difference.