5 Teachers I Vaguely Recall
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?