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You are going to read an interview with a tree surgeon named Betty Stamper. For questions 43 – 52, choose the correct section. The sections may be chosen more than once.
The Tree Surgeon
What is a tree surgeon, and what do they do every day? We asked Betty Stamper, who qualified four years ago, to tell us about her work.
A tree surgeon is someone who cuts old and sick trees in order to save them. It’s quite an unusual career, for sure! People often ask me why I chose it, but it wasn’t a considered choice. I’ve loved trees since I was kid. I was always climbing them – and falling out of them. When I was a teenager I’d sit and read under the willow tree in our local park. They’re just wonderful things; the planet couldn’t survive without trees. So what better job could I do than take care of them? I did a course with the Royal Forestry Society, which was useful for the theory of tree surgery, but honestly you mostly learn on the job. You get to know trees by being around them every day. They’re like animals in that way, but without the danger of being bitten.
Apart from a love of nature, the basic skills for a tree surgeon are patience, physical fitness, confidence with tools, and the ability to understand maps and plans. Patience is the number one thing because if you make a mistake, you could kill the tree. I would feel so guilty if I ever did that. There’s a lot of climbing involved, so it’s no use being scared of heights. Tree surgeons also need analytical minds, as my boss often points out. That might seem like a strange thing to say, but we have to analyse a tree’s symptoms like you would a human patient’s. Except, of course, a tree can’t tell you where it hurts. One final thing is that you have to be OK with working in the cold and rain. It’s not a seasonal job; trees can get sick any time.
On one of my early jobs, a man cycled past and shouted at me for cutting the branches off a tree. That was a bit weird – until I realised he thought I was killing it. He didn’t understand you have to cut the diseased branches for the tree to survive. After that, I felt encouraged that a random guy cared enough to stop and yell at me! I’ve worked in lots of different places in the last four years, from public parks to private gardens to town centres. My favourite jobs are in the parks. A lot of the trees there are hundreds of years old so it’s a privilege to help them. But the most challenging job I’ve had was felling a tree on a residential street. Felling is when you cut the whole tree down because it’s dead, and likely to fall on someone. Believe me, it’s hard to get something that big safely to the ground.
I suppose one of the downsides of this career is that there’s not much progression. A friend who works in banking just got promoted to a management position. When she told me about her huge pay rise, for a few hours I had this rush of envy. In 10 or 20 years’ time I’ll probably still be doing the same thing – but better, hopefully! Deep down, though, I don’t care about power or money. What I want now is to become an expert. People don’t give their lives to one thing any more. My grandpa was 15 when he started as a trainee watchmaker, and he did the same job for 45 years. I respect that because by the time he retired, there was nobody who knew more about making watches than him! It seems old-fashioned these days, but I’m happy to follow his example. I’ll be the person in my neighbourhood who gets asked all the tree questions. That’s enough.
In which paragraph does Betty…
43. talk about a person she admires?
44. describe her career so far?
45. mention a task that was difficult to achieve?
46. talk about a qualification that she took?
47. compare tree surgeons with doctors?
48. say she never gave much thought to her career?
49. admit to feeling jealous?
50. describe the qualities required to be good at her job?
51. talk about her childhood?
52. describe an incident with a member of the public?