This week’s blog hop is about teachers. Remember the time you had that awesome teacher? Sorry guys, but no. I mean, I did have lots of different teachers with varying personalities teaching me over the course of my fourteen years at school. Some of them were good and some, well, not so good. I just didn’t experience any that I remember clearly and think of as inspiring, or incredibly amusing, or even, you know, a little bit special.
I considered writing about my very first teacher, Miss Holt, who I made very angry by telling her a dirty joke when I was five years old. I did not understand the reaction and was utterly mortified. At the time I had no idea that it was rude; when I had heard a big kid tell it, as I did, everyone had laughed hysterically.
My third year teacher at primary school, Mrs Dodds, kept cards in slots under her blackboard with Maths problems on them. Each slot held several different cards and each card had about ten sums to solve. From left to right under the board the problems on the cards got harder. I loved doing sums and relished the opportunity to work on problems that the other children found hard. I can’t remember how far along I got, but I don’t believe I made it all the way to the right before I gave up. At seven years old I learnt that I wasn’t as impressive as I had thought.
Then there was Mr Kerr who taught me in my last year at primary school. He kept an old trainer that he called Willy under his desk and beat the boys on their behinds with it when they misbehaved. Even though I was only eleven years old I was annoyed at how sexist this was. Determined not to let such a situation pass without protest I misbehaved until I became the only girl he ever beat. Looking back, I must have been considered a weird kid.
My all girls grammar school was full of characterful teachers. Miss Kloss and Miss Jackson used to march around the school grounds together every lunchtime. I think one, other or perhaps both of them had a dog. What I remember is the marching, Miss Kloss with her hands behind her back, both of them deep in conversation. They seemed so old to me at the time, but were probably younger than I am now.
We had a student teacher for Geography one term who wore high heels and called female sheep ‘Yow’s’. The heel on one of her shoes snapped in class one day and we thought this was very funny. School kids can be so cruel.
I had an English teacher who was very thin and had red hands that turned blue where the skin touched the bone at joints. I found it difficult not to stare at those hands as she clasped and unclasped them, trying to engage with us and share her love of literature. My most abiding memory of her lessons was when we were studying Elizabeth Gaskell’s ‘Cranford’. We were required to dress up as the characters in the book and hold a tea party. I hated, hated, hated role play. I could never put together a convincing outfit and felt foolish pretending to be someone I was not. It was only when the BBC produced a television series of this book that I reread it and found that I actually enjoyed it. Teachers must despair of truculent pupils, refusing to endorse their ideas when they are trying so hard to share their enthusiasm for a subject.
Throughout my time at grammar school I took extra curricular music and was taught to play the oboe by Mr Osborne. I took all of the ABRSM exams up to Grade Eight, and then spoke to him about studying for my diploma. He had a fairly direct manner and informed me bluntly that I was technically competent but was not a musician as I could not feel the music. I gave up the instrument forthwith.
I did not enjoy school but managed to come away with enough exam qualifications to get me into university and on to a job that I enjoyed. Whatever I may have thought of the various teachers through whose tutelage I passed, they must have been doing something right. There may have been none that I loved but neither were there any that I hated. I did not disrupt the class and always did my homework, but would still guess that a few considered me troublesome. I believe that I was the only regular member of the school Scripture Union not to be made a prefect.
Both my brother and my sister made teaching their career. It is a job that I could never do, at least not in a formal setting; I would find the students much too intimidating. I did home school my younger son for a little over a year (Why I became an amateur teacher). I wonder how he would rate me.
You can read the other great posts written by others taking part in this blog hop by clicking to view on the link below.