Wednesday, 8 March 2017

“Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life.”


I saw her in Marks and Spencers.
A rather chic woman in her middle sixties with fashionably cut grey hair.

I recognised her immediately.
She was my biology teacher at school.
Vaguely I remembered as a teacher, she was an efficient but rather distant individual,  but it was seeing her that sparked a memory not of her way back in Prestatyn High School in 1974 but of her husband who my English teacher
Her husband had the rather odd nickname of  " smiler" as I remember and I recall one small kindness he afforded me as a boy of twelve when I was bullied in one rather awful moment of childhood cruelty.
I loved my English classes and was a bit of buttoned up swot at every lesson, so occasionally provided a butt of the joke for several of the thicker and more disruptive boys.
One day, just before class one of those boys broke my newly bought ink pen by jamming the nib into the desktop.
It was a nasty little moment of destruction which was aimed to hurt..and hurt it did.
As class started, and biting away tears , I remember Smiler starting the lesson which was for us to write a précis  of the novel " A Kestrel for a Knave" and as he walked up and down the line of desks he gave us instructions of what he wanted of us to do.
As he passed my desk, and without comment he reached into his pocket and pulled out his own rather smart ball-point pen which he placed quietly before me.
The lesson carried on as normal.
It was a kindness that meant so very much to a twelve year old boy.

At the end of the lesson, as Smiler was stacking the novels into piles, I stopped at his desk and offered him his pen back.
" Keep it" he said giving me a slight nod of his head

Who was your special teacher?

138 comments:

  1. I saw my special teacher in the mirror every morning. He looked back at me as if to say "Another day... another dollar" before bombing downstairs for a quick mug of scalding tea and a slice of toast.

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    1. I suspect you would have several of such blog entries in time YP

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  2. The high school graphic arts teacher, Dave Snoffer, he trusted me with big projects, assured me I could do anything if I applied myself. He died a few years ago with early onset Alzheimer's - he was only 62.

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    1. Being treated with respect is high on my list with special school moments me thinks

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  3. My horrid school days have affected my whole life. I never had a special teacher. I recall one occasion when I had changed schools; I walked into the history lesson for the first time and a stony faced teacher asked 'who are you?' I replied 'I'm new' and she responded 'that's a funny name'. I wouldn't have minded if she had said it tongue in cheek but she said it unsmiling as the fellow class members cackled with laughter. I wish I had put a drawing pin on her chair. Would have been nice to have been taught by someone like Smiler.

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    1. I wish sometimes I could go back to those days and (without fear of punishment) give clever answers to all those snide and nasty comments my teachers came out with.

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    2. Yes i had my fair share of such experiences....once i was placed arse first into a metal waste bin which was ON TOP OF A DESK for getting my welsh phases wrong!

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    3. If you were naughty at our school, you had to stand in a basket in the central playground for the entire lesson. The whole school could see you. I was so scared I didn't end up there!

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  4. The English born Mr and Mrs Cooke come to mind. They were both very kind to me. They were very old fashioned and we sent them up and harassed them and misbehaved badly, but they were salts of the earth and remained truly kind people. Mr Cooke was a real Harry Highpants, who in class always hitched up his pants even higher and higher. The waistband must have sat just below his nipples.

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    1. Harry highpants reference made me smile

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    2. We call those turtle neck pants!! Haha!

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  5. My favourite teacher is my youngest daughter. She is an English teacher at a secondary school and she is my hero. If some of my teachers had the patience, humour and compassion she has, my school years would have been a whole lot nicer.

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    1. A nice tribute there But also a well deserved backhanded one for you me thinks

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    2. You're very kind John. Her dad and I have always tried to do our best for our daughters, but ultimately they are very much their own women x

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  6. What a lovely story, little things mean a lot.
    Briony
    x

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  7. I worked in primary schools for thirty years, and the teacher who I respected/admired most was a headmaster colleague in Barnsley.

    Like me, he was something of a 'maverick'; we shared the same beliefs, and became good friends. He was also the first person, at work, who I came 'out' to.

    He was very altruistic with both staff and pupils, always striving to 'practise what he preached'; the children absolutely adored him.

    Outside of work, I ran an animal rights group, and my headmaster pal took enormous risks in supporting me with that.

    So, he's my 'special' teacher. (Aa a pupil, I can't remember a single teacher I actually liked, let alone thought fondly of!)

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    1. Yes i forgot to make clear the teacher may be a collegue .....i had a mentor when i was a psychiatric student nurse called mr brint.....i respected him greatly and would love to contect him if he was still alive...i like Bel ami, ( below) will search for him and will drop him a line

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    2. Colleague even

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  8. I hated school; all 16 years of it; fucked me up for life; and every time I see the name of one of my former teachers in the death notices I cheer. I hope they all rot in hell!

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    1. oh snap, I just got your blog title - maggie smith, "the prime of miss jean brodie".

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    2. I watched the film last night hence the blog entry

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    3. I can agree with this partly and I'm not a vengeful person but can remember a sixth grade teacher who regularly made fun of a disabled girl and eleventh grade teacher who would literally read the paper while a bullied student was being chased around the room. What absolute assholes.

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  9. Mr. Thurtell- highschool English, Mr. Kilburn- elementary school art teacher and the one who taught me the grammar that I still remember today. They couldn't have been more opposite as teachers and human beings, but they both made an impression on me. -Jenn

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  10. That brought a tear to my eye! I remember an English teacher of mine who was very passionate and I think he helped give me a spark for writing.

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    1. Perhaps that what english teachers are supposed to do kev

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  11. Mrs Ackroyd, my French teacher. I've tried without success to find her. If anybody knows where Audrey Ackroyd is now - quite possibly in the London area - I'd be delighted to hear from you.

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    1. Funny that..i would love to hear if smiler is alive and well and smiling too

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  12. That was the gesture of a very kind, understanding, thougtful man. He maybe dealt with the bullies quietly later I think.

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    1. I am not sure if he did....i hoped so...but i was content with the pen

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  13. My first teacher in Crip Class left a huge impression on my six-year-old self, not only because she was kind but because she knew I was smart and could someday hold my own in a traditional classroom. She is gone but I still think about her sometimes.

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    1. It's the kind things we often remember first

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  14. He was a good teacher. I too remember him with much fondness. Teachers can make such an impact on young lives - good and bad

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  15. Omg i should have known someone here would have remembered him...why did he get the nickname of smiler? Do you know karen?

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  16. The teacher that most influenced me and meant the most was my own father, who was an English teacher. Not only did he give me a grounding in the English language, but he also gave me a great respect for teaching and the whole profession. I discovered that every teacher I had, even the not very good ones, had something to teach me -- even if sometimes it was up to me to discover what that 'something' was! I know of many stories about my father that he was a kind and sensitive teacher who always made an effort to understand and help his many students and I am very proud of him.

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    1. A sweet epitaph ..the sweetest

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  17. Mine was also an English teacher.

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  18. What a sweet memory. The teacher I remember with the most fondness is my 1st-grade teacher. She was so kind to me. She told my mother I was an exceptional student and I had some emotional issues that she thought should be addressed. I was and I did. I knew that even at the age of 6. My mother's reaction, which she shared with me, was "You? Emotional problems? How ridiculous!" I loved that teacher.

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    1. How wonderfully dowager

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  19. Well, Mr Smiler just became my favorite teacher.

    I went to school in the US Deep South, having moved there when my mother remarried a man from the South . We were from California.
    I was laughed at and mocked for the way I spoke (I had not acquired that Southern drawn yet)
    Add to that I was a small skinny little thing .. and could read very well. Giving my fellow classmates and rednecks plenty to find to laugh at. I hated school with a passion and most of it I look back on as torture.

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    1. Yes i didnt like school either but English made it barable

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    2. We spoke Southern, English was hard for some of them to understand lol

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  20. My favourite teacher was also my English teacher (there's a theme developing here ....maybe you need to be really special to be an English teacher!, her name was Mrs Simpson.

    She simply treated us all fairly, gave me a love of the English language and it's proper usage and put me forward to go in for my English 'O' level as well as the CSE's that we all had to sit at secondary school in the 70's, I think only half a dozen in my class had this opportunity. Having that one 'O' level got me most of my jobs during the course of my working life.

    Next time you spot your former biology teacher in M&S you should ask her about Smiler, I'm sure she would be thrilled to know he was held in such high esteem by his former pupils even if sadly, he is no longer with us.

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    1. Funny i have now seen her several times and always alone

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  21. I had an English teacher whose enthusiasm for big words and dramatic reading helped me to realize I wasn't as odd as my folks (and myself) thought I was.

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  22. My favorite teacher was the school librarian, Mrs Hanna. She allowed me to read, taught me how to do proper research, and encouraged my budding writing career (which subsequently was put on hold for forty years). Mrs Hanna, who was mocked by everyone, but who mocked no one, taught me that it's okay - and sometimes imperative - to be *different*.
    (I love your Mr Smiler)

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    1. " mrs hanna, who was mocked by everyone, but who mocked no one, taught me thats ok- and sometimes imperative- to be different"

      A nicely put phrase

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  23. Nope, on the whole school was a miserable time of my life made worse by the staff and not helped by the general apathy and blindness to bullying at all levels.

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    1. Shite! All colours of the rainbow here me thinks

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    2. My experience too..it was misery. Add in physical abuse with use of the cane and the wooden ruler anywhere bare skin was visible and being ridiculed ..and that was by religious nuns! No wonder any faith I may have had was zeroed.

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  24. Mr. Adams....absolutely wonderful man..my music teacher..he started our full orchestra....taught music theory...conducted our incredible chorus....
    This was the only thing that kept me alive in high school...
    I detested school as well...I still dream about it....

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    1. There is a,ways someone who would go that extra mile

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  25. Jean Hutchison, or 'Hutch,' as those who adored her called her. My high school English teacher, and the main reason I've been called 'Grammar Police' all my life. My hour a day in her Creative Writing class was pure heaven! She would send notes home to my parents praising my writing 'talent', and even sent me a card and $10 when I graduated. She passed away six years ago and when I went to her funeral, I ran into about forty 'kids' from her classes. She was a huge influence on many lives.

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    1. Like sue ( above) said...English teachers.......we have a theme going here

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  26. Miss Marion Burke my grade six teacher. I was in a class of, let me say, very rough street-wise guys (all boys school). By the first day she had everyone in the palm of her hands. She was kind, accepting, and compassionate. Back then 'strapping' of the hands was permitted......she would send the boys out into the coatroom with strap in hand and tell them how many to give themselves on each hand.
    Also, for the school's Christmas concert she had the so-called bad boy sing a solo of 'O Holy Night'. It was the most beautiful singing I had ever heard.
    She also took the entire class around the province by bus in spring....that was a HUGH thing for most.....just leaving the city.
    Thank you Miss Burke.

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    1. .....to give themselves on each hand (knowing full well they were hitting the window sill with the strap.

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    2. Now this sounds like the script from a wonderful 40s movie...with roddy mcdowal playing the kid with voice....
      Thats a lovely memory jombo!

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    3. I was hit on the hand one time for being silly in class.
      Silly. I wasn't in a nunnery ! I was a little kid in 3rd or 4th grade !! I remember my hand burning ( I was not a child who was ever spanked ) so the pain and humiliation is all I remember of that grade and that teacher .. I didn't spank my children.
      I have come to believe that adults ( even parents) should not strike children ..

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    4. My first strap was in grade two and it hurt like hell! My friend and I were started to laugh uncontrollably during a school church service. we were seven years old and cried our heads off.

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    5. In primary school we had the cane but noone i knew ever had it

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  27. Mr. Nagy, my kindergarten teacher. I was so bashful I could barely speak in those days, but he was always so kind. I always sat as close to him as possible when he read stories to us. The mean lunch ladies wouldn't let kids have tartar sauce when they served fish sticks (we had fish sticks a lot) so he would go through the teachers' line and get a huge bowl full of it and then put a dollop on each child's tray. He would spend the entire recess period playing with us; he was always available to push if you were playing on the swing, for instance. I loved that man and cried my eyes out on the last day of school. ❤

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  28. Tartar sauce at kindergarden! How bloody posh!

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  29. I should add of course that the point of Jean Brodie is that, far from being an inspiring teacher, she's a very stupid and self-absorbed woman whose thoughtless actions lead to the death of one of her pupils and damage several of the others. She's hardly a role model for the teaching profession.

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  30. It's funny how you remember the horrific incidents in grade school, AND you remember the times you felt appreciated or special too. I tried to give each student a positive memory every week and found out much later it did make a difference to many of them. I'm glad you remember your good moment so clearly!!

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    1. I only remembered it when i saw my biology teacher!

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  31. Isn't it funny how such a small act has stayed with you for life! I always try to remember when dealing with kids at school that they remember everything -- especially little kindnesses (and for that matter, little cruelties).

    I LOVE "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," BTW. Teaching can go badly wrong!

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  32. Mrs. Armor....my 4th grad teacher. She was kind, enthusiastic, fun and she liked me!

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  33. I spent grammar school staying 'under the radar' so wasn't bullied, but I did fake many illnesses to keep from having to attend school. My parents switched me to a small private girls school in the 10 th grade and I blossomed. School became fun, exciting, and I only missed part of one day for the next three years. It showed me that the best place for me is in small groups. Large groups still scare me at the age of 70.

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  34. I had the privilege of being educated in what I now know was an exceptional public school system. I can't name a special teacher; I'd have to list them all. The teachers I had, to a person, helped a bright, autistic, socially-worse-than-clueless, plain-looking girl keep from being steamrollered by cruel and thoughtless fellow students. Wouldn't have survived without them.

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    1. You can understand the modern day panic of parents to fight to get their kiddies into the best schools

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  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  36. Apropos of nothing .. I am listening to BBC Radio 3 , Look On The Bright Side of Life is playing :)

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  37. Father Hurst, our English Lit teacher, who opened my eyes to the pleasures of reading and, more than anything else, in understanding and appreciating Shakespeare. My life would have been completely different and vastly duller if it hadn't been for him. I regret enormously not having been able to tel him so.

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    1. I think there is a common theme about regretting not thanking our teachers especial those special ones

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    2. Most of us only realise it when we look back as adults, J.G., by which time any opportunity of expressing gratitude has slipped away. Sad.

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  38. My grade 12 Law teacher. He was the ONLY person who ever said to me - IN MY WHOLE LIFE - You CAN do it!

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  39. I wrote about my best teacher last week on my blog. She taught me from Grades P-3 in a two room school. An exceptional teacher and fine person.

    My mother was also a teacher; I never had her in the classroom as it was felt better to not put teacher's children in their classes unless there was no alternative. She taught mostly English, but for a few years taught a special class of kids who had failed at least one grade and sometimes more and who struggled with academics. She was allowed to create her own curriculum, with an emphasis on practical subjects. Grown and gray-haired men and women still come up to her and hug her and say she was the best teacher they ever had. I am a tiny bit jealous that I never had her in a classroom. But she was responsible for my academic success nonetheless, because she always expected more of me than I did of myself, and pushed me to go to university, which was a defining experience for me.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I had two favourite teachers although I only had one of them in the classroom.

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    1. What did you think sparked todays post , i read your post....as for your mum......just knowing her students loved her is enough...the Prof's grandmother was a good teacher..she was responsible for his academic sucess me thinks

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  40. This post made me sad, John xxx

    I was five and half years old, on my very first day of school; as the teacher was introducing each one of us pupils to the class, she said my name and said I had beautiful eyes and told the class because I probably ate plenty of carrots. I remember her with fondness, she made me love school.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Funny but it always seems to be the smallest of kindnesses that we remember

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    3. "the smallest of kindnesses that we remember" ... oh that is so very true.
      I have a heart full of those very small kindnesses that go everywhere with me .. they come in handy, remembering them, when times are not the happiest.

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  41. In junior high (middle school) I was kind of coasting along, not living up to "my potential" as they used to say. Somehow, probably from testing, I was placed in the top English class in 9th grade. My teacher was Mr. Townsend, who was gay but at that time (1960) nobody acknowledged the fact outright. He was a snappy dresser with fitted suits that showed off his slim physique. He was from Louisiana and had a Southern drawl. And he was fiercely intelligent. I sat in the first chair in the first row next to the door. One day he had an article he'd written for a gourmet magazine that he wanted us to proofread. I got it first because of my position in the first row. A little ways down in the article, a blatant error jumped out at me. He'd used the word "foul" when he meant to write "fowl." (It was about a chicken dish.) I took it up to his desk and he fell all over himself in gratitude. Later in the semester he was teasing me about reading the book "Gidget Goes to Hawaii" for our reading assignment. But I was prepared. From under my notebook I produced a placard that had just one word on it: "FOWL". He fell against the blackboard laughing and said "Touché!" I ended up getting an A in his class and went on to really apply myself in high school, thanks to him.

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    1. We gays love a sassy broad

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  42. I had a wonderful English teacher at my prep school, whose lessons were a delight. Instead of the usual boring examples of English, he made up his own very surreal and very funny examples. For instance "Men, women, dogs, mice and bluebottles all use the 183 bus route". To this day I can remember all eight parts of speech from his mnemonic Vanappic (which he informed us wasn't a toilet cleaner)

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    1. And the sad fact nick, is that scores of good teachers are leaving the profession because of red tape and paperwork quotas

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  43. My primary school teacher in a tiny village school in the last class before secondary school. We adored her. She was young, groovy, had a friend in Pans' People ! We sang to her playing the guitar and did art a lot. Miss G even drove a few of us to school in her car ! I'm now friends on Facebook with her !

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    1. Could you see students driving in their teachers' cars nowadays? Bloody hell no!

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    2. The woman who was my German teacher was Dee Dee Wilde's mother!

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  44. There were several great teachers at my school. The music teacher who tried to keep me in choir, even though my parents refused to pay towards it, the English teacher who told us the (smutty) stories to look out for in Chaucer & the Decameron, among other tales from his own life, the Maths teacher who gave me the confidence to take exams when my parents said I was no good (still have a blind spot for geometry). But one understood me even more than them.

    My history teacher who choreographed his route to collect homework to somehow miss my desk. I was good at history, but found homework a chore. He also gave me permission to stay in at lunchtime with a few library books when my asthma as at its worst. When it came to the O' Level exam, I was so bored with the constant rehashing or the history of the World Wars that I decided to answer a question on an area we hadn't covered - the moved to independence in African states. He asked me why, but not in an angry way, as I was the only member of his class going on to do Tudor & Stuarts for A level.

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  45. My favourite teacher was Miss Cookman. I was lucky enough to have her for both grades 4 and 6. She just lived around the corner from us with her wife. A few years back I saw her and was able to tell her how much she meant to me. Thanks for reminding me about this John!

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  46. I am older (went to school in the 50's) than most of the people commenting but I loved school. Yeah, I was that kid !
    When I went to school we all behaved and if we didn't it was a walk to the Principal. I am sure there were bullies but I do not remember any.
    We had recess played all kinds of games (all in dresses) had library time, music and art. All the things that are missing from our classrooms today as they teach to the test and nothing else.
    I must have had rose colored glasses on.
    Being from a legal immigrant family education was/is important.
    Mr. Buck was the art teacher who taught me how ever you see the world and draw it that is your voice. Every art teacher I had was the crazy best !

    cheers, parsnip

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  47. Little possessions mean a lot to children. Over the years I found out that they mean a lot to adults too. When I loose a pen, an umbrella, a purse, a hat..it hurts.

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  48. I was in school in the 50's
    really didn't like it. Most
    of my teachers were men and
    most of them thought girls
    were a waste of time.
    My favorite teacher happened to me
    in first year of college.
    An English prof who was a nun
    who left the church to teach in
    public schools.
    She assigned as many "banned" books
    as she could find for us.
    That was a very enlightening class.

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    1. We've had an ex nun comment here occassioally!

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  49. Sadly this is not the Maggie Smith that the Nu channels when she pees in shower but the Downton Abbey character in full disapproval mode.

    My teacher of influence was Mrs Ogden at Meopham Secondary School, who confirmed my love of books, English Literature and the correct use of grammar; as opposed to Mrs Platt, the deputy head and maths teacher who just scared the beejesus out of us all.

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  50. What a great post. As a teacher myself, I would like to think that I would be that sort of teacher who makes things happen in a quiet unassuming way. My favorite teacher was my French teacher in high school because she helped me to learn to love the language. She was also a bit eccentric. She would eat chalk in class and say to us...je mange la craie.

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    1. On behalf of us all that cannot thank our old teachers......thank you x

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  51. A kindness that resonates with you still. Beautiful.

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  52. Winnie Law, Antrim Technical College, late 1960s. I'd just come from three years in a Convent school that I hated. Miss Law taught Current Affairs, she was just out of college but a brilliant teacher. It was such a novelty for me to be treated with respect after the torture of the nuns. More recently, Brian Douglas who taught me A level English as a mature student. Witty and kind and very encouraging. If all my teachers had been like Winnie and Brian I'd have enjoyed school a great deal more.

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    1. Winnie law....what name...almost as good as nelly!
      Welcome xx

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  53. Oh John! As a former teacher I so appreciate this.
    xxjenny

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  54. I've been on holiday John and only just caught up with your news on Winnie...so glad she is doing ok now. My favourite teacher was 4th grade Mr Davidson...very handsome and left an indelible impression on me when he carried me from school assembly when I fainted and held my hand as I sat with the school nurse...some things stay with you forever !

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    1. She's had some bladder problems post op...but having said this shes just eaten whole tin of spam!

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  55. I loved school. Bloody loved it. Home was a three ring circus. At school, all was calm and ordered and you got a pudding EVERY day!.....

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    1. I sort of knew you would answer in this way ....good for you x

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  56. I come from a family of teachers preachers and public servants..though my parents were not teachers..from my mother i learned to be brave and my dad i leraned to be fair and non judgmental. And from my mentally challenged sister i learn not to fight God and mother nature. And you John are an example of generosity of self. Thanks..

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    1. Milly ! Only one comment how amazing xxxxx

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  57. I'm happy in retrospect that someone was kind to you. The only kind teacher I had was Mrs Hull who got in trouble for teaching us to knit during recess. The rest seemed to dislike their jobs, their students and especially me. I hated every second I spent at school. (No, I was an excellent student, all A's, but terribly shy.]My children have had similar school experiences or even worse, again, both are excellent students.

    lizzy

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    1. Not everyones story reads like a film lizzy

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  58. Not just a teacher but "The Head Mistress" who found me leaning on my book locker wondering why the fuss about a Matisse painting that I thought I could have done better. She spent nearly a hour leaning with me and explaining about that painting, best bit of teaching I've ever had. She only knew me because my sister was outside her office nearly every morning for whatever trouble she'd caused the day before.

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    1. You went to very good school.....this comment made me larf.....how many adults let alone kids know anything about Matisse!

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  59. I come from a family of teachers preachers and public servants..though my parents were not teachers..from my mother i learned to be brave and my dad i leraned to be fair and non judgmental. And from my mentally challenged sister i learn not to fight God and mother nature. And you John are an example of generosity of self. Thanks..

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  60. Am I allowed to two teachers? Iwan Edwards, a transplanted Welshman who was the music teacher at our Montreal high school. Thanks to “Uncle Eddie” - our term of endearment for him, we had school choirs, junior, intermediate, senior and concert bands. We went to Europe - lucky me as a choir member off we went to Denmark. But he taught us more than music - he taught us responsability, dedication, determination and how to raise money to pay for our fares to Europe - bottle drive anyone?

    Murray Jack, the technical drawing teacher at the same school, was an amazing teacher who had great influence (unbeknowst to him) on my future career. He,like Iwan, taught us more than just what they were hired for - amazing teachers both of them

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  61. Not a favorite teacher but one of my favorite students. I retired from teaching high school almost two years ago. During my second to last year of teaching, I noticed one of my seniors looking particularly downcast. Upon investigation I found out he was hugely short of credits. He wouldn't be graduating that June. I called him into my office and asked what his plans were. Not looking me in the eye, he replied that he was a loser and would end up doing nothing but dropping out. I verbally grabbed him by his metaphorical collar and gave him a good shake. Not while I had anything to say about the matter, you won't. I enrolled him in after school classes and night classes and I tutored him to help him pass. He did and he graduated. I don't know why I took a particular interest in this young man but upon meeting his father, he called me "Saint Mary."

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    1. Wow, we need more like you in this world.

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  62. I've been lucky to have a few memorable teachers, but the teacher I think of with the most fondness was my University Wind Ensemble Conductor/Director, Dr. Frank Bencriscutto. He was by far the best conductor I've ever had in my life. Although I don't remember a particular kindness that he may have bestowed (he was always kind to me), he was able to coax the best playing out of each musician in his group through words of encouragement and inspiration. The Wind Ensemble performances were so excellent that I felt transported to a higher plane when we were all in sync under his direction.

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  63. Norman Wadey. He was my Art Teacher. We drove about in his sports car, smoked his Gauloises, and visited London shows together. Years later I bumped into him in Sussex (to where he'd retired) and was pleased to be able to tell him that thanks to his influence I'd ended-up with a 1st class Hons degree in Fine Art. He was rather dismissive, and I heard a short while later that he'd died. I think when I'd met him he was either feeling very unwell, or didn't recognise me. Pity.

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  64. Mrs McDonald . . .
    Fifth grade . . .
    Lone Rock, Wisconsin . . .
    A robust, jolly, happy sort. . .
    Spur of the moment . . .
    Different time each day . . .
    She would play the piano . . .
    I loved that reprieve . . .
    and her

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  65. I was in an RC boarding school from the age of 8. It was not a place of positive experiences, nor of kind nuns. Our primary library was very limited but we were not permitted to go into the Senior School library. One kind nun who was the librarian, left the window between our primary dormitory and the library unlocked, and would leave books she thought I might enjoy at the end of the nearest bookshelf. In a world of few kindnesses, that stood out for me.

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  66. Out of a bunch of appallingly bad teachers (no exageration) my Art teacher shone out like the good human being he was. He set me off on my loss-making career...

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  67. John I'm dying to know, did you tell your story to smilers wife? I can just imagine it making her day.

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    1. I have joined a facebook group from my old school , one guy thinks smiler sadly died

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  68. Mine was Miss Thompson (Maths) not to be confused with her sister Miss Thompson (Art)!

    A few tests before my 'O' level she marked me down and her note said ' It is very unlikely that 'K' will pass this subject. The alternative is to sit the CSE or the 'O' level paper will have to be paid for.

    I was appalled, needless to say that report never reached my parents. Pulling my socks up I attained an'A'. With my results in my hand I went to her room brandishing my success.

    She said 'I had no doubt that you could get an 'A' you just seemed a bit happy with a 'B-', I thought you needed some encouragement'

    A psychologist as well as a very good Maths teacher!

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  69. My "Jean Brodie" was Miss Carter, another English teacher ! I adored her. However she shot down my image of her , when I was working in Debenham's a few years later and I served her with a necklace that she was buying as a Christmas present for her niece. She recognised me and said , as I showed her a choice of necklaces ( all the same price )..."Well I know which she would choose but this is the one she is getting. " I just stood with my mouth open....deflated.

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  70. P.S. Everyone thinks of Maggie Smith as Jean Brodie but my favourite was Geraldine McKeowen (spelling?) in the T.V. series. Anyone remember it ?

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    1. I agree she was the better brodie

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  71. Ooh, I had quite a few good teachers. One has gone on to be an inspiring speaker teaching people to to work in groups and use their minds well. I will always remember that he gave my year ten story (about a post-apocalyptic pregnant cat trying to protect her coming offspring from nuclear affected rats) to a bunch of year eights to read, one of whom happened to be my sister. As an aspiring writer, it was a total buzz, so thank you, Mr Capelli!

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  72. Who was my most remembered teacher. Would you believe his name was Flexmore Hudson. Bluestone College. Was supposed to be there to Learn about "Agricultural Science" ... but that bloke taught me more about the language English -and its variations throughout history -than anyone else.

    Did he teach me how to become rich and famous?
    er, no ... but have experienced an interesting life ... so far ... heh.

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