5 Teachers I Vaguely Recall

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When I was training to become a teacher, the lecturers drilled it into us that the best teachers will always be remembered by their students. I remember my Dad bumping into one of his former students 30 years on who told him what positive impact he’d had on his life. I racked my brains trying to remember whether any of the teachers in my 13 years of education had had a major impact on me. I don’t think I can honestly say any of them did. I think they ranged from completely unsuitable to average, there was no great inspirational figure that imparted a thirst for learning. These five stuck in my mind for other reasons;


Mr Sixsmith was one of the most unlikely candidates to be a PE teacher that you’ll ever come across.  He had a glass eye; rumour had it he lost it in a javelin accident but I suspect that might have received some creative license along the way. He sported a greasy side parting, a bristly moustache, an ill fitting tracksuit, a complexion that suggested he probably enjoyed a drink or two and belly to match. When it was shower time he’d come along with a brush and push you under the water, in hindsight I’m not sure he should have been working in a school.

Mr McEwan was one of the angriest men you could ever wish to meet. He taught Woodwork and after telling me to “put some elbow grease into it” was unimpressed when I spent 10 minutes searching for a tub labelled “elbow grease” in the cupboard. He always wore a short sleeved white shirt tucked into an impossibly high waisted pair of grey nylon trousers. His teaching methods were straight out of the old school and two of his favourite things were shouting in your face and finger poking.

Mrs Bird came along when I was making the transition from dorky boy to lusty (dorky) teenager and she was the closest thing I’d had to an attractive teacher. She taught Geography and low and behold my best subject suddenly became Geography; I know all my capital cities and can talk at length about igneous rock.

Mr Barker was another PE teacher. He was ex-military and I suspect he was struggling to let go of his army days. He was one of those teachers that was a lot of fun if you were on side but you knew that if you did push his buttons you would probably regret it. He had an old shoe called Mr Smiley that was a sort of a sidekick, it had a smiley face drawn on the sole and he’d ‘encourage’ any stragglers to partake with a whack across the legs. I once sent a stray discus hurtling towards his testicles at high speed only for him to vault it at the last moment, sighs of relief all round.

Mrs Pretorius was my Sociology teacher and a total stoner. She was always unprepared but you forgave her for it because when you smoke that much marijuana I imagine planning lessons and marking work wouldn’t be very high on your priorities. I seem to remember watching The Simpsons quite often and being asked to find examples of sociological goings on.

Do you have any teachers that stick in your mind, good or bad?

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  • http://fitmotherhubbard.com/ Neets

    Peta Morrissey I remember in grade 6. She took the cool kids to her holiday house for the weekend & I was one of them ha ha. I also remember Mr Dean, my year 11 teacher. I had the biggest crush on him. In fact, I don’t recall learning a single thing on his class. Was too busy day dreaming! Ha ha

    • daddownunder

      Even on first name terms with Peta Neets, very before her time. I wonder what Mr Dean’s up to these days?

  • http://emhawker.blogspot.com/ Emily

    I remember my grade six teacher. Hilarious, fun, incredibly supportive – encouraged me to sit a scholarship exam for the local private school – and with a big wobbly belly like Santa Claus. I also remember many of my high school teachers – most particularly my English teacher, who I’m still friends with.

    • daddownunder

      That’s much more like it Emily, I feel cheated ; ) I take it you got into the school?

  • http://www.shoppegirlsstyling.com/ Vicki | ShoppeGirls Styling

    I recall a few high school teachers that I valued teaching me. But I always remember my year 5 teacher, Ms Dwyer, she was my favourite. Maybe it has been set in stone as she was the last teacher I had before we left Brisbane.

    • daddownunder

      I honestly don’t recall having a favourite, maybe my memory isn’t great or maybe I wasn’t a great student?

  • http://awesomelyunprepared.com/ KezUnprepared

    I’ve had some teachers who were memorable for the wrong reasons too, but I won’t dwell on them here ;)
    My year 3/4 teacher (who I had for two years in a row which made me feel like the luckiest kid ever) was Miss Butcher. She was caring, funny and made all of us feel special. She let us come to class early and we could play music on her stereo and dance to the Grease soundtrack. While I suppose we were probably seen as the ‘cool’ kids, I have a feeling she was the type of teacher who didn’t play favourites. She looked after everyone.
    I had a teacher in high school for history. Mr Lilly. He was SO passionate about it that you couldn’t help but get swept up in it. He explained everything in a way that it came to life and he would not accept us doing any less than our best. He pushed us when it was time to push us and he was kind and supportive when we needed it. He also let us be a bit cheeky within reason when a situation called for it, which never failed to lighten the mood. He had a sense of humour – something teachers should definitely have!
    I am also really proud of my uncle who taught at my primary school for a few years and he still has former students talking about him (for the right reasons).

  • http://soniastyling.com/ Sonia from Sonia Styling

    Mrs Hayman was my year 5 teacher and she was the one who suggested to the school that I should skip year 6 and go straight into high school the following year. Best and worst decision she could have influenced, but she did help me through the hardest year I’d had in school to date (the year I was diagnosed with scoliosis).
    Mrs Smith was my year 12 English teacher. She was all sorts of laid back cool so we all really liked her, but she also knew her stuff so we all really respected her.
    Looking back, I do feel a bit ripped off. I never once had a hot male teacher in all my years at school…

  • Richard Farrar

    How strange that you remember Mr. Sixsmith & Mrs. Bird. They are two that Jonathan remembers as well & I suspect Joshua does as well.
    I’ve had so many lovely comments from former pupils & that it is very heartwarming, few about my teaching of maths, though. The teachers that I remember most fondly are those who helped me to deal with the bullying I was subjected to, Peter Corlett, Merv Evans and Pete Mallileu. I was very fortunate to have good and inspiring teachers.
    I am sorry for those of you who have commented that you did not have teachers that taught you well but please remember that we grew up relatively sane and balanced despite our parents and teachers. Tee her.

  • www.boyeatsworld.com.au

    The ones I remember are for all the wrong reasons. Like the 6th grade teacher who thought it would be “Funny” to strangle students in front of the class for even the slightest transgression and the scary high school English teacher who didn’t think “English was particularly important” and wanted to direct theatre… ah, school I miss you not!