memory – isn’t it strange?!

It is now Sunday & I thought I would just quickly check my blog page, since my internet link has been down for a couple of days and I started to read the last journal post from a week or so ago about Climate Change – and if you have read it you will know that I could not recall the name of my student from about 30 years ago, the person who was central to my Climate Change story. …

So, no great surprise there for anyone who has been a teacher of any kind, since we all have many people passing through our lives each year….in my case during the late 1970’s I should think I had about 300 new students each year on the various courses I was teaching on at that time, perhaps more… and as education then had to “become more efficient” the numbers of new students each year that figure probably went up to more than 400 new faces each year.

I had one colleague Graham L. who could remember the names of ALL his students from several years past but this was beyond most of us; although I did try very hard to emulate his recollective powers. For example, at one point when we had, say, 36 new students on the BA in European Business each year I would see them for Case-Study seminars for at least three hours each week in groups of 12 or so. Doing case-study work in groups of four was then practicable and, therefore I managed within the first three weeks of the course to be able to put a name to each of the 36 faces with 95% confidence of being correct and then remembering those names clearly for the rest of that year and carrying those remembered names through the four years of their course. But then student numbers started going up and the first year entrants went up to 70 and 85 and eventually to close to 200 I think.

I struggled on for a while trying to remember as many as I could but there were just too many gaps….so I eventually stopped even trying. Even then some students stood out for some reason and I would register a few names here and there but without any real consistency. On the other side of that equation, however, most students would probably be able to remember your name and so expected that you would remember theirs! I know that one year when going on holiday to France we saw a young couple on the ferry – both students from one of my courses. I recognised them instantly – I have always been good with faces! – but , for the life of me, I could not dredge their names up. We spoke and chatted for a few minutes but I could not introduce them… the information was not there!

Anyway – the reason I am telling you all of this is that when I was reading my last blog and came to the bit where I mention my Gilbert and Ellice Island student, his name came straight to me – Ienroi Kamoriki. I am not 100% certain I have spelt his first name correctly but there it was, freshly imprinted on my conscious memory. As I said in my last post I was racking my brain for ages as I wrote that post but since then I made no further attempt to recall it as I thought it must have gone forever.

So, some little process has been going on in my subconscious brain, unbidden, and made the connection available to me straight away as I came to the very point in the blog where his name should fit. I did not even have to “think” about it, or “try” to recall it, it was just there. As you may be able to tell from how I am writing this, I was well-surprised!

In view of the tale I was telling I thought I should try and Google his name. Nothing came up for “Ienroi Kamoriki” but when I added Kiribati to the search I found several other Kamoriki’s appear including a charming YouTube video of “Miss Kiribati”  of 2009 doing a dance with the backing of a group of male singers from Kiribati… If you want to see it the URL is If anyone out there knows whether she is related to Ienroi and, if she is , what happened to him, I would be interested to know. Enjoy the Dance.


About Keith Melton - Green Lib Dem

Retired English liberal environmentalist living in Nottinghamshire; spent six years in Brazil. Author of Historical Novel - Captain Cobbler: the Lincolnshire Uprising 1536. Active member of the Green Liberal Democrats - (pressure group in Liberal Democrats) - was Founding Chair of GLD in 1988
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