Away Day and Old Acquaintances


As I was wandering around the office, stretching my legs, I fell upon a conversation between one of the social workers who works in a different locality team and her manager about the possibility of a whole team ‘team building away day’.

Of course this was too good an opportunity to miss. My view of an away day will always be a trip to a theme park or the zoo but unfortunately that wasn’t quite what was being proposed – it was more of a ‘sitting in a room and discussing’ type of team-building that was being proposed.

I thought paintballing sounded quite fun – we could split on a geographical basis or in our own type of geeky way, discussed a possible football match between ‘social model’ v ‘medical model’ with the doctors and nurses against the social workers and psychologists (as one of our clinical psychologists piped up at this point that she was very good at football!).

Of course this led to a discussion of which team would ‘claim’ the occupational therapists.. (I think we would because they are quite athletic and the social workers – if my colleagues will forgive me – are probably the least.. erm.. athletic.. to put it kindly).

Of course outside of my imagination, what is likely to happen is that the away day will consist of us all sitting in one of the Trust or Council offices discussing team dynamics and trying not to raise the issues that really need to be discussed.

image szlea at Flickr

Through various convoluted means that would be way too complicated to explain, today, I am going to an event at which my first practice teacher from my first placement as a social work student will be present. I qualified in 2000 and my first placement was in a local authority older adults community care team in 1998/9.

It was the first experience that I had in a statutory setting and I had a wonderfully kind and supportive practice teacher. I remember I was the first student she took as she was completing the practice teaching course as I was studying.

She was exceptionally thorough and has consistently been an inspiration to me of ‘how I would like to be at some point’. My second placement was a little less happy but fortunately, I had the experiences of the first placement to inspire me and carry me through. Through my own laziness really, we never kept in touch – although we said we would in that way you do when things come to an end – that and the fact that I left the country pretty soon after I qualified.

I saw her name though, on the distribution list for the invitations to the event. I wonder if she noticed mine. She’s probably had lots of students with and around her since so I’ll be one among many. I am not at all sure what I’ll say or even if she’ll recognise me after 10 years.

If ever though, there was a point for reflection of where I’ve come in these last ten years, it will be today..

6 thoughts on “Away Day and Old Acquaintances

  1. Go up and say hello. Tell her she was an inspiration to you. I’m sure she’ll remember you–good teachers remember their students, and it’ll make her day to hear that she had such an impact on you. Have fun!

  2. When I was working at a group home, we went on a whitewater rafting trip. It was actually really eye opening in that we really learned that day who we can trust and who would put themselves out to get things done. I never would have guessed.

    Oh, and I’m with Reas. Go up and talk to her. As her first student, I’m betting she remembers.

  3. I just know what they’re like in my office and can’t imagine an away day anywhere other than another office building!

    And we did meet and chat and it was lovely!

  4. No no no – the true purpose of any ‘teambuilding’ day is to justify the meal and massive collective alcohol ingestion that happens after the official activity. This does a great deal more teambuilding than wandering aboutsolving puzzles with different coloured blocks. I can attest to this.

    (just don’t let the boss’s wife get soooo drunk that she keeps falling over. Damn, that was funny).

  5. That’s my fear really although I can’t imagine any circumstance where there would be any alcohol whatsoever involved!

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