Teachers: The good, the bad and the naughty

Who has been the most influential person in your life outside your family? Probably a teacher. Whether you tend towards the Pink Floyd attitude or the opposite Abba extreme, teachers have been there opening doors, moulding, revealing and empowering – or in some cases, failing to do so and missing opportunities. Luckily for me, mine have mostly been in the first camp.

But I have encountered some dodgy ones. The problem with teachers is – it’s not always immediately clear who is a good ‘un and who who is a bad ‘un – because it’s not about niceness. I’ve been telling tales about what happened inside classroom over at the prestigious (how I love using that word), thought-provoking and entertaining Lessons from Teachers and Twits blog. Ahem, no prizes for guessing which category I belong in. The answer of course is – both, on occasion.

Teachers and Twits is run by RasJ in the picture. I can’t imagine anyone skipping her class. (Hope I don’t pull standards down too far.) Anyway – you’re welcome to have a look and issue me with suspension, expulsion or a gold star over at Teachers and Twits. And you’re also welcome to share your own teaching or being taught stories back here.

Oi! Pay attention at the back there! It’s your own time you’re wasting. Why don’t you share the joke with the whole class if you think it’s so funny.



Filed under blogs, Guest Posts, Influences, My Writing

32 responses to “Teachers: The good, the bad and the naughty

  1. Wonder if Mr. T snitched the goodies to hide in the closet and eat them himself.

  2. You were a bit of a boyo! I wonder if you brought in an extra little sweetmeat for Mr T, would he have left you alone?

    • blackwatertown

      Sure that might have just encouraged him. As I recall, I don’t think he discriminated – any goodies were fair game.

  3. Cheerio, deary! And thank you for directing folks over to me today where I have been hoarding your brilliant piece for quite a while. Thank you for helping me with this project — and for being one of the very first people I met when I landed in the Blogosphere.

    In cyber-ettiquette, you were my teacher. 😉

  4. So many people have influenced me one way or another. Yes, one English teacher in particular who was hilarious and also a brilliant teacher of grammar, vocabulary and good writing. But I’ve been influenced by many people for specific personal qualities I found inspiring – like kindness or wisdom or creativity or open-mindedness. Once you stop being inspired by other people, you’re dead.

  5. Aside from my mother, my 5th grade teacher — Mrs. Kline — was the most positively influential person in my life. When I was in my early 20’s I tracked her down and told her so.

    • blackwatertown

      My Granny could hardly leave the house without older girls and women and then older women – past pupils all – grabbing her for reminiscence.
      Good for you tracking down Mrs Kline.
      Hope she was pleased to see you.

  6. Odd this, BW, I wrote an article about teachers some 10 years ago, about rotten teachers. We tend to glamourise them but some can be truly awful. We had one we had to GROOM when she arrived at the school and make her tea. We were in Third Class (8-9 years old).We brushed her hair and her shoes and her clothes. All separate brushes. I could go on but you get my point.

  7. I have several friends and a sibling who are teachers. None of them describe themselves as a good teacher but, reading between the lines over the years, I’m certain that they all are.

    Remember the bit at the end of An Officer And A Gentleman when Richard “Mayo-naise” Gere says to his erstwhile nemesis Sgt Foley “I’ll never forget you”?

    At some point or other each of my teacher friends has told a story about a pupil saying something similar to them. The good ones live for moments like that. Moments that are more important than the money. It remains a scandal to me that the powers that be take advantage of this dedication to pay low wages for such an important profession. I also don’t understand why the profession can’t be more of a meritocracy so that the worth of good teachers is properly recognised, and so that – maybe- more good people could be attracted to the vocation.

    • blackwatertown

      Agree – though it must be exhausting to be a good teacher. All the preparation and the keeping in mind the potential of each pupil and how to draw it out. Or maybe a mellow confidence works too.

  8. Spare a thought for the mediocre, Paul. We all remember the good and the vile. But what of that hapless yet harmless geography teacher, the gorgeous yet gormless biology teacher, the PE teacher who gave us unmentionable instructions in the changing room, the physics teacher who stirred our hearts because he made us yawn so much?

    Of the vile, and I do not know why I still give him so much space in my life and the blogosphere, my maths teacher. He was on the small side and bad tempered. I admired his enthusiasm. He’d jump up and down whilst covering the blackboard with totally inane equations (we are talking the echelons of higher mathematics here). When he just about had it with some of us he’d turn round, closely followed by his glass eye, and shout at us to get out of his sight and train to be bus drivers instead of wasting his time. Wish I’d taken his advice.

    He is dead now. And no, I did not dance on his grave. I took the bus instead.


    • blackwatertown

      Boom Tish!
      You just reminded me of a geography who talked a lot about Thigh-land. We couldn’t help wincing every time. She was clearly a bit rubbish, but I still felt like a stuck-up prig.
      But getting back to your PE teacher… huh? huh?

  9. After 5 primary schools and 4 high schools over 2 continents, it’s hard to remember the impact of my teachers other than the mighty crush I had on my biology teacher Mr Jones (who I later went to University with – just a tad embarrassing) and my sixth class teacher Mr Vague. Although when I was about 9 I had an Australian Exchange teacher (I was living in England at the time) Mrs Greenaway and I loved her tales of snakes under the bed and Christmas in the sunshine. Who’d have thunk I’d spend most of my life in Australia…..

    • blackwatertown

      “Me and Mr Jones…
      We got a thing going on…
      But only after I left school and went to university. Alright? No funny business.”
      Reminds me of a chief inspector of schools. Can’t think why.

      Your 5 primary schools & 4 high schools over 2 continents must make you the Genghis Khan of the classroom.

  10. I do remember starting high school and gaining my 1st male teacher…I well remember falling hopelessly and …further enhanced by a very fine and dark ‘tash! Consequently I have no recollection of what kind of teacher he was!!! I do know it’s a little bit cringeworthy to remember!! I also had a horrendous PE teacher who hated me with a vengance and tried her best to drown me during the dreaded swimming lessons…but such joy in my Wolfie heart when “the worm turned” and the wolf attacked this dreadful woman!! Having conquered the “witch” 😉 I moved onto learning the art of being naughty in class…instead of demure and shy 🙂 Until that is, being my mum’s best friend at the time, my teacher passed on news of my naughtiness and suddenly it didn’t seem like fun anymore!! 🙂

  11. My 10th grade French teacher in the early 1970s, Mrs. Van Leemputten, was from what had been the Belgian Congo. While teaching us French, she inspired us to embrace life fully. One day she suggested we keep a journal and then, some day in the distant future, open it, read it, and she promised us we would smile at the thoughts recorded by our younger selves. I wonder if today she would encourage blogging… I credit her with my starting to keep a journal.

    • blackwatertown

      Do you fancy sharing some of your early entries?
      I’d say she would go for the blog idea – except that she might be concerned about the open nature of it.

  12. There was one particular teacher for me, not in school but in Business School, who saved me from being thrown out of the course, by giving me special tutorials to get my base knowledge up to understanding the higher stuff that was being taught. I have always been grateful to him and I am looking forward to meeting him in December when he is scheduled to attend a wedding in Pune where I live.

    • blackwatertown

      Be sure to bring a notebook and open the conversation with: “Actually Sir, there’s just one thing I still don’t quite understand fully…”

  13. Hmmmm. This got me thinking… My P7 teacher was a Mr B ,obsessed with football so always away at matches but when he wasnt, he studied for his Open University degree during class. Or our P1 teacher Mrs M- her novel, if inappropriately degrading punishment was to stand bold boys in the bin holding the window pole. Ah the memories…..

    • blackwatertown

      Mr B – what a cheat.
      Mrs M – i can just imagine her getting accidentally clonked on the head by a distracted or tired armed bin boy.

  14. Admiral Fancypants

    I absolutely love your blog!

  15. Besides my parents, I don’t know who influenced me. I had teachers that were good, but none of them had really any effect on my life. A bunch of teachers had a grudge against me, though. The kindergarten teacher, several adults in preschool, and this one music teacher hated me. And I didn’t like them so much, either. I didn’t think I was that naughty as a duckling.

  16. Pingback: Naughty teaching | Fotoblack

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