Postaday2011:My worst teacher..

You mean only one? I grew up in the fifties in a poor family. My father wasn’t around after I was nine, I was the oldest of five children and the only girl. School for me was a nightmare but although I struggled, mainly because of what was going on in my life, there were some great teachers that believed in me from junior school and secondary school. My first nomination, I wasn’t going to name but the chances of anyone tracing him if I don’t name the school is remote. His name was Mr Pratt and taught me maths. I was a gifted child but circumstances had made me fail miserably, despite of that I was sent to a higher class for mathematics. Bad move. The numbers merged on the page and made no sense to me. Each sum mocking my inability and knocking my confidence but this teacher, bless him, thought I was being lazy and decided a slap on the back of bare legs with a ruler was the way to make me learn. You know, I love maths, it fascinates me and I can understand everything and have no trouble doing it if I am studying it but… as soon as I walk out of the room, it’s gone! Everything whisks over my head like I am dumb… Thanks Mr Pratt. Forgive me for saying it but your name suited you.

My secondary school teacher taught us sewing… in those days girls were still taught the domestic sciences, cooking, sewing, cleaning etc and I was at an all girls school. I mentioned earlier I was from a poor family so my clothes were never the best and this teacher, Mrs Darnell, bless her would think nothing of hauling me out in front of the class to make me look a fool because of what I was wearing. If only she knew my circumstances…

Her stature was tall and slim and I never really knew if her hair was naturally blonde or whether she dyed it, either way it was pulled back into bun so tight that it pulled her eyes up at the sides. The click of her heels as she, wearing her immaculate suits, walked along the concrete path outside the sewing room would drive a shaft of fear in my heart. I’d sit at the back hoping not to be noticed but I must have had radar that tuned into her fierceness and like a magnet she was drawn to me… Needless to say I played truant a lot in those days.

Thankfully, I am a good seamstress but I reckon that it’s nature rather than nurture that gave me that gift. I just wish my fascination for maths along with my understanding of quantum physics could have been a gift too. Wow! I’d be so clever… these bad teachers from those years have no idea of the damage they did. I believe in the ‘significant others’ in one’s life and for all the pain and embarrassment those two teachers caused me there were others who helped me to fly. Mrs Emery, Mrs Calder and Mrs Blann were their names.  Through them I learned believe in myself as I learned the things that mean so much to me now, to appreciate nature and art, music, English and writing but it wasn’t until I was 50 that I had the opportunity to show the world what I was capable of and do a degree. It was that 2.1 in English that changed my life and opened up so many things for me. I ended being a teacher myself but rest assured I was a far better teacher than the two from my childhood.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    barbara said,

    Oh what memories!! Mrs Darnell wasn’t keen on me either. She had me thrown out of her painfully tedious needlework lessons because I sewed my fingers together. It relieved the boredom and the result was good for me. As you know I still can’t sew, put off for life!!!
    Mrs Calder was amazing, history came alive and has remained one of my favourite subjects ever since. What about maths with Mr Allen, he used to sing Barbarbarbara-ann in class, not very original but it amused me at that time. Who was the older art teacher we originally had? She didn’t get my humour either..alright I did blow bubble gum bubbles in her face but she had said my art was worse than a 5 year old, again as you know I don’t do art either!!!!

    • 2

      wordangell said,

      OOH you give me more memories, I remember Mr Allen, but not as much as Mr Wyn Jones… who stank of whisky and was very suspicious. I cannot remember any of the art teachers at all, in fact there is very little I remember about secondary school. There was a maths teacher who also taught languages, small blonde lady who I found quite intimidating because a was so weak. I do remember drama and those costumes I spent more time than I should have, sewing pearls onto. I was Portia to your Bassanio… good times eh? We must get together some time and swap stories…xx


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