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I just found out that my favourite teacher at school retired over the summer.  I was surprised that she was still there given I left school in 1989!

Pamela Sinclair, Physics, taught me how to enjoy learning.  She held us to an astoundingly high standard but it didn't feel like that because she made it enjoyable, while tailoring the learning to the individual.  Those of us with a bit of an aptitude for physics were given extra stretch and confidence to go learn more for ourselves, those who were struggling were given the tuition and extra they needed to get through the subject.  I still see her passion for learning today in my own progress and attitudes.

It's amazing when you think back to school and how influential certain teachers could be.

On the other side, I remember my Computing teacher for my Computing O Grade.  He repeatedly humiliated his pupils if they got things wrong.  I still remember getting very chippy over him sneering at my response to "how do intelligent traffic lights know that a car is there?"  I answered "the camera" and didn't get a chance to say that it was a traffic sensor (didn't know at the time that most are microwave radar based) before he laughed and said "Oh Craig, are you REALLY saying that there's someone monitoring these cameras and manually triggering the lights?  Why don't you just shut up for the rest of the lesson so you don't embarrass yourself more.  I don't think you're cut out for computing.".  Apparently he was looking for induction loops as the answer and refused to accept any other answer for different types of traffic sensor.  My personality took that as a "f*** you" challenge but I know plenty of others who were completely put off the subject by him and did the minimum possible to get through and out.

Beyond him, all of my teachers were excellent and thoroughly proved to me that the comprehensive system worked well with the right people behind it. 

I remember my chemistry teacher teaching us some stuff that most certainly wasn't on the curriculum.  Biology with the teacher's overwhelming optimism.  I remember my Technical drawing and art teachers swapping roles for a couple of weeks to demonstrate the overlap of skills needed to excel at either subject.

I could never be a teacher, I'm just not good enough to do it and I have nothing but respect for those who dedicate their lives to it.

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Mrs Shoelaces was an English teacher all her working life. I worked in a school as a technician for about 12 years when the engineering ship sank beneath my feet.

I wouldn't do the job for a gold clock. It's really tough these days.

Good teachers are born not made. 

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recently i had communication with an old teacher - he was really depressed, his wife had been my teacher at primary school and got me a scholarship to the boarding school he was at, he was my housemaster for the next 4 years and was a great Biology teacher (plus Rugby Coach). I kept in touch with him, he pointed me in the direction that allowed by son to get a bursary/scholarship to his special maths scheme that just got him 5 Alevels - but people are now trying to find blame that he and another senior member of staff did not recognise/acknowledge some sexual abuse in the early 80's (before saville/soham etc) and allowed staff to resign and move on away from teaching. I can understand those abused looking for people to blame but never in a month of Sundays would I do a job that 30 years on people can be asking you to justify your actions with perfect 20/20 hindsight by the measures of today not then. I hope people remember that for every person who feels aggrieved that with hindsight he didnt get things 100% right they remember the 100 (or 1000) children who lives he made a real positive difference to.

Edited by ckn
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My dad still has a copy of my first school report, I was branded immature at the age of 4 by Mrs Jones, he claims to have taken her to task at parents evening and got no-where!

Mr Sands was a character he once threw a board duster at me and missed, as he was giving me a telling off for ducking, he was dragged off to the heads office for making the girls nose bleed who was sat behind me.  I was mortified when he turned up as the organist at my wedding.

Mr Mcguire was the most amazing teacher I'd ever had, I often wonder how much further I'd have got with my science at high school if he hadn't sadly died in my 2nd year of school. 

A girl in my year is now a teacher back at my old high school, we still occasionally meet up at the football and she brings along another old science teacher of mine, its funny, even in my 40's I slip back into school mode, its all yes miss, no miss, feeling guilty if I'm having a pint on the concourse etc etc!

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4 hours ago, SSoutherner said:

recently i had communication with an old teacher - he was really depressed, his wife had been my teacher at primary school and got me a scholarship to the boarding school he was at, he was my housemaster for the next 4 years and was a great Biology teacher (plus Rugby Coach). I kept in touch with him, he pointed me in the direction that allowed by son to get a bursary/scholarship to his special maths scheme that just got him 5 Alevels - but people are now trying to find blame that he and another senior member of staff did not recognise/acknowledge some sexual abuse in the early 80's (before saville/soham etc) and allowed staff to resign and move on away from teaching. I can understand those abused looking for people to blame but never in a month of Sundays would I do a job that 30 years on people can be asking you to justify your actions with perfect 20/20 hindsight by the measures of today not then. I hope people remember that for every person who feels aggrieved that with hindsight he didnt get things 100% right they remember the 100 (or 1000) children who lives he made a real positive difference to.

Following comments from others by PM and report, I have removed the last line because it was a bit inflammatory around NI and risked derailing the thread.

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Two years ago I left my career in the pharmaceutical industry to become a biology teacher. It's early days but so far I'm enjoying the day to day a lot more than my old job and it can be incredibly rewarding. I've worked in a few different areas in my life but I've never seen dedication and enthusiasm for the job like the young teachers I've worked with*.

*I'm only in my early 30s but I feel like the ould lad in the staff room sometimes because turnover is so high.

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I've been to a few schools, both state and public.

Two at Cambridge:

  • Mr Peacock, my housemaster. A proper Bulldog Drummond type, who smoked a pipe and played Real Tennis. Having the hardest left-hand serve in the country meant that if you earned a beating, you felt it for a while! Despite that, he was a good guy, loved and respected by all.
  • The other was Mr Halket, deputy head and maths teacher. A nasty piece of work, who seemed to really enjoy inflicting pain, if the gloating grin on his face was anything to go by. In the end I snapped and threw some chairs at him. I was called to his office after the evening meal, and I expected the thrashing of a lifetime. Instead, he just wanted to talk to me about the incident. This was just before I left that school and I heard from a younger pupil that, in the following years, he'd completely changed and was now one of the most popular teachers. Maybe I had something to do with it,maybe not.

One school in Yorkshire: I joined this school and it was evident, even to a youngster like me, that it was failing. Too many older teachers who just didn't care and were merely marking time 'til retirement. Since then, the place has been almost entirely turned around, and parents compete to get their kids a place. My niece went there and loved it, apart from the history teacher. I was astonished to find out he was the same guy from my time there, and I remember loathing the incompetent greasy thug back in the Eighties. God knows how he's hung onto his job, while all the other dead wood was disposed of. Compromising photos, perhaps?

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3 minutes ago, getdownmonkeyman said:

Futtocks, I finding the fact you used the plural ‘chairs’ rather hilarious.

It was two or three, but so long ago that I don't remember. What I do remember is that it wasn't for effect; I was aiming at his head and throwing as hard as I could.

Edited by Futtocks

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I often think that the removal of corporal punishment must have really had an effect on the type of person who became a teacher.

I also find it amazing back in the day how many teachers were happy to say 'you'll never amount to anything' to children. It seems every celebrity you ever meet got told this. 

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6 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

I also find it amazing back in the day how many teachers were happy to say 'you'll never amount to anything' to children. It seems every celebrity you ever meet got told this. 

It happened to Churchill and Einstein. But, then again, some people develop at different ages, and maybe they really were lousy students.

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As I’ve stated on another thread my time at school was blighted by one particular teacher, but I put that experience behind a mental wall a long time ago.

Hers’s another though, my school was fanatically pro ru. I played union for the school on Saturday morning and League for my local club on Sunday morning.My club reached the local U/16 Final, it was to be played Saturday afternoon. I would have played both but my dad said it was too much so I opted to play in the final hoping Ken “Rugby League is a mugs game” Inwood would understand.

” You do what you think you have to” he said.

We played and won the final, the next Saturday I was not selected for the school team, despite having been a fixture in it since the first year. I was never selected again, I was 14 ffs 😡

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2 hours ago, getdownmonkeyman said:

Futtocks, I finding the fact you used the plural ‘chairs’ rather hilarious.

It would be wrong to say “some chair” though wouldn’t it.

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3 hours ago, getdownmonkeyman said:

The exuberance of youth.

Daughter's latest exchange with year 9 lovely

Daughter:  Can you please take your coat off Clarke

Clarke:  Man's cold innit

Daughter:  I suggest mans takes his coat off or mans will be in detention..........innit

Clarke:  [removing coat] Harsh fam!!

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Mr Jellis, Maths

We butted heads for 4 years. Detention nearly every week. I was too stubborn to do what I was told. Got Grade A O-level. Best teacher ever! 😀 

Miss Clapham, French

I loved her! ❤️

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Mr Druce was my 6th form master, I was a bit lost at the time, bright pupil but depression and ill health meant I didn't get the results I wanted, started doing A levels but was sort of coerced into trying a new vocational course. found that I loved the subject, came out of my shell and gained some confidence back.

He helped me through that really tough time and helped me find something that needed a decent level of academia AND practical hands on skills at the same time. he actually put my name down for entrance test for FE college course unbeknown to me, even more of a surprise was the fact I was nominated with a small handful of others to do 2x2 year courses that were considered 'full time' and do them concurrently. 

It was the best thing I could ever have done at the time, the courses really set me up and despite not being confident in my abilities so much has come because I what I learnt there and being told I can do this. 

he was more than anyone else the person to aid me toward a career and shaped my life for the better.

Thanks Kevin 💪

Oh yeah, Miss Johnson, proper MILF😍 your milkshake certainly brought all the boys to the yard ...

Edited by Denton Rovers RLFC

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My Engineering Science high school teacher who told me “If you want to find the answer, just keep the pencil moving”. That advice has helped me in many parts of my life.

I remember the bad ones too from the days when teachers could hit and scream at students.

My father in law used to have great tales about his eccentric teacher, Mr Golding. I tell my wife he must have written his novel Lord of the Flies after knowing her dad ( yes it really was that Mr Golding)

 

Edited by Copa
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It's horrifying to look back as an adult on the let's, say "unreformed" teachers at your school and you realise they were often people with severe mental health issues who should never have been working in that environment. That's leaving aside the small number of out and out sadists.

One thing I've learned is that schools are inherently oppressive places for many, if not most, kids and even with the best of intentions a conscientious teacher can unknowingly act or speak in a way that can be damaging to a child.

Forcing children to sit in too hot/too cold classrooms being lectured at for 7 hours a day and expecting them to sit quietly and attentively AND to learn meaningfully is one of those things I think our descendants will look back on in disbelief.

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14 hours ago, Maximus Decimus said:

I often think that the removal of corporal punishment must have really had an effect on the type of person who became a teacher.

I also find it amazing back in the day how many teachers were happy to say 'you'll never amount to anything' to children. It seems every celebrity you ever meet got told this. 

Certainly, and I think it also has to do with the status of teachers in society now compared to before.

My Mam always tells me about how when she was in school the teachers who used the cane would always target poor kids and that the parents' attitude was complete deference to the teacher's judgement. Teachers back then had a level of middle-class status comparable to doctors, priests etc.

Probably the only positive side effect of an otherwise lamentable assault by successive governments on the professional status of teachers is that if you're a petty sadist looking for a tiny bit of power to abuse teaching not longer holds the appeal it used to.

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1 minute ago, damp squib said:

It's horrifying to look back as an adult on the let's, say "unreformed" teachers at your school and you realise they were often people with severe mental health issues who should never have been working in that environment. That's leaving aside the small number of out and out sadists.

One thing I've learned is that schools are inherently oppressive places for many, if not most, kids and even with the best of intentions a conscientious teacher can unknowingly act or speak in a way that can be damaging to a child.

Forcing children to sit in too hot/too cold classrooms being lectured at for 7 hours a day and expecting them to sit quietly and attentively AND to learn meaningfully is one of those things I think our descendants will look back on in disbelief.

That's where a good teacher comes into their own.

I think back to my law degree where one lecturer would come in, stand at the lectern with hands firmly planted either side of it and read notes at-speed for an hour.  Dictophones were banned and she refused to repeat even if there were a disruption.  Once she talked over the fire alarm test and refused to repeat.  For me, that was useless.  She could have just walked in, handed out her notes to us, walked out and we'd have probably learned more effectively.

Good teachers at both school and uni were clear by how they made the subject stick.  For example, in contract law, the second most boring law subject, the lecturer had a running "prop" of a fictional little green alien who he used to show how context was so important and how it had to be stripped fully to make contracts work.  To this day, I still use that little alien thought when drafting important stuff, if someone completely divorced from context can't understand it easily then that means there's scope for misunderstanding in it. 

At school, we had a US exchange science teacher, Ms Uchida in first year, (who had real struggles with understanding a deprived mining town!) who was a real believer in hands-on science.  For many of biology classes each week (we had 3 classes of science a week split roughly between the three main science subjects), she would go down the local butcher and come back with black bags full of hearts, lungs and so on and have us digging in to see.  It's a world of difference between poking a pig's heart to feel the tension of the valves and simply seeing it covered on a picture.

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It was a long time ago but for some reason I remember this. Junior school, Workington, early 60's.  Five of us sent to the headmasters office for the cane.  Headmaster lines us all up and after a telling off says to each one in turn, "Cane or 100 lines?"

"Cane sir" says I, and three others. "100 lines please" says Mike.

"Right" says the headmaster, "you four back to class and don't do it again".  Mike got the cane and the 100 lines for 'not behaving like a man.'

 

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12 hours ago, heartofGold said:

Daughter's latest exchange with year 9 lovely

Daughter:  Can you please take your coat off Clarke

Clarke:  Man's cold innit

Daughter:  I suggest mans takes his coat off or mans will be in detention..........innit

Clarke:  [removing coat] Harsh fam!!

Is she an English teacher, fam?

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one thing you notice about quiz shows, when teachers are on they rank  amongst the biggest dim wits ever to be asked to display knowledge, the young ones in particular are as thick as...………..

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