Be adventurous with your skills!

92 year-old supporter Rupert Brooks shares his fascinating story with us, with advice for teachers today.

If I was asked to give advice to teachers today, I’d say ‘Teaching opens up new worlds. Think about how you can fully use your skills and experience to do something multi-faceted and stimulating!’

I was a qualified aircraft engineer when I obtained my teaching qualification as a mature student. It opened up so many new opportunities for me. I feel I’ve taken full advantage of these throughout my life and I would urge others to do the same.

I taught in a school for a few years, until Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Company built me a school outside the factory gates in Coventry. I had joined them after the World War Two and they asked me to return to use my teaching skills to show other engineers how aircraft systems work.  

Nations who bought our aircraft, such as France, Denmark, Syria and the Netherlands, sent their engineer employees and I taught them about planes, such as the Meteor night fighter, the Sea Hawk and the Marineflieger. I was proud to be involved in many different engineering developments after that, such as four-propjet front and rear loading cargo/transport aircrafts used by the RAF for parachuting troops.

Later, I instructed the Royal Navy on Sea Slug and Sea Dart guided weapons systems, on ships such as the HMS Girdle Ness and HMS Devonshire.  

During my career, I feel blessed to have also learned to teach in French and German as a result of my experiences. 

This eagerness to learn new skills continued right into my retirement and I took up flying on my 80th birthday!  (Although I never achieved my Private Pilot’s Licence as my instructor kindly said 'It would be safer for those on the ground if you did not stay up there'!).

I’ve always had lots of interests outside of the classroom and feel that this time can be spent developing yourself.  I’ve had successes in writing (having 2 books published and writing eight more that I share with my friends), I’ve been an actor and set/prop designer in my local theatre and have even appeared in medieval pageants.

Why I am a supporter

I support the Education Support Partnership because as a former teacher I feel it’s important to be in touch with retired, older teachers. There is a need to talk to each other to overcome loneliness.  I am not lonely myself, having a daughter and son-in-law living with me, caring for me and looking after me. But others may not be so fortunate.  Their newsletter and emails are a great comfort.   

I’d like to think that some of my stories can inspire those teaching today. If anyone would like to ask me anything about my experience or to share stories, please do get in touch through Education Support Partnership.

Rupert is one of our lovely supporters and we thoroughly enjoyed hearing his inspirational story. If you have a story to share or if you’d like to support our work, please do get in touch on 020 7697 2750 or info@edsupport.org.uk. We’d love to hear from you!

Thank you Rupert!