Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Why I didn't become Astronomer Royal.

I think it was my Maths teacher who was responsible. His nickname was ‘Bud’. This moniker did not result from the high regard with which he was regarded by his pupils; rather, it derived from his penchant for parading his diminutive legs around the classroom clad in excessively tight blue corduroys. He liked to flounce around the classroom like an ersatz Rudolf Nureyev, pausing to complete a quadratic equation on the blackboard with a flourish. This gave him the opportunity to cast scorn and contempt on those of us (most of us usually) that didn’t have a baldy clue what the prancing tit was banging on about. He was a complete and utter tosser.

The Science Department wasn’t much of an improvement. Our Chemistry teacher had been involved in a horrific car accident ten years earlier. The wonders of 1960’s facial reconstruction had left her with one glass eye permanently fixed on the bottle of concentrated sulphuric acid in the locked chemicals cabinet. The other eye, which twitched, gazed out of the window at the dinner hall, presumably attempting to divine what culinary delights the dinner ladies were concocting for us.

The Physics teacher was just eccentric. He liked to fiddle with springs; sported tweed jackets with leather elbow patches, and drove a maroon Triumph TR6 (impossibly naff then, unbelievably cool now).

My personal favourite was the Biology teacher. A three foot two inches cross between Marie Stopes and a bag lady, she liked to inform us (a class of fifteen year olds) that: “The desire to consume food is a far more urgent mammalian impulse than the desire for sexual congress". Aye, right.

The Arts teachers were generally ok. Our History teacher had a different suit (usually involving a waistcoat) for every day of the month, and was obsessed with the Franco/Prussian war. The English teacher, despite her bulging eyeballs and tendency to swoon over Shakespeare’s sonnets, was inspirational. She drove a Fiat X19 (impossibly cool then, unbelievably naff now)

My favourite was the French teacher, Miss Halliday. Fresh out of Teacher Training College, and drop dead gorgeous, she liked to correct our pronunciation. She had breasts and everything.

I have a teaching qualification, but I have never taught. I think it was a wise decision. If I had, just imagine the sort of things people would be saying about me today.

It doesn’t bear thinking about.


Kyahgirl said...

oh you funny funny guy.

How is it possible that I went to the same school as you? I'm so baffled.

You just described all my science teachers. More amazing still is that I eventually went into chemistry!

Betty said...

Perhaps the reason we remember teachers being so odd is that concentrating on all their idiosyncracies was the only way to relieve the boredom of sitting listening to them droning on about maths/chemistry/Wordsworth etc.

Mind you, some of them WERE really weird buggers, weren't they ...

Sniffy said...

Teachers put themselves forward for lifelong ridicule, it's in the job-description. I imagine that you would've been the type of teacher who would have provided fond memories for many people long into their adult lives.

My chemistry teacher, Mr Atkinson, had a terrible squint. It took me three years to get used to knowing whether he was talking to me and then I changed teacher to do my o levels! Gutted.

Some teachers are useless arses; although you never seem to remember their names.

Fuckkit said...

I had a scary obsessive crush on my English Lit teacher and I pretty much despised the rest of them.
Apart from Mr Ashcroft who was head of discipine. Despite then fact I was weally weally webellious I got on really well with him.

Wyndham said...

What is it about French teachers? Mine was fucking gorgeous, although I can't remember his name.

My biology teacher's dedication to his craft was second to none - and was sent to jail for having a relationship with a 15-year-old.

First Nations said...

oh deary me yes. our math teacher had an alarming eye disease that turned the whites pink and caused him to squint and blink constantly. like watching a canary caught in a box fan. the punchline? his last name was
as in 'Master Bates'
get it? get it? *snork*

S.I.D. said...

My French teacher did it for me too Garfy.

Ah yes, I remember her perfume to this day Blasé!


Convict said...

My French teacher was about 50 and had a habit of sticking her hand in her blouse to scratch her tit or down her skirt to scratch her minge and she expected us to remember what she'd just said!!

The last physics teacher I had prior to leaving school was fresh out of teacher training college and looked ten years younger than us. He also had a penchant for knitted woollen scarves which were the length and colours of Dr Who's ala Tom Baker era.

The chemistry teacher on the other hand looked like Dick Van Dyke does in Diagnosis Murder sans moustache, with white hair and a ginger fringe caused by the cigarette smoke from the constant chain smoking. How he managed to get through a whole hour and 15 minutes without one still eludes me.

The deputy headmaster came from Cornwall and was so exasperated during one of his English lessons that he threatened to throw himself out of the window, to the extent that he had opened the window and was squatting half in half out, if no one got the question right. The window was on a second floor and he didn't jump. Which was bloody inconsiderate of him because he had a penchant for attracting the attention of unruly yoofs by grabbing the hair by the ears, we hadn't quite got to the stage of growing sideburns, between finger and thumb and leading you down the corridor to his room where he would proceed to give you the verbal equivalent of the Hiroshima bomb. Even the most hardened slacker would leave his room resembling a strawberry jellyfish.

I could go on, I probably have too much already. Ah the joys of a comprehensive education.

Kyahgirl said...

gawd convict-I've never heard you speak so much. This teacher talk must be really cathartic or something!

Come to think of it my french teacher was gorgeous too. A swarthy, Mediterranean god. Dark hair, big blue eyes. Had all the fourteen year old girls going ga-ga over him.

Then he knocked one of our classmates up and that was it. Gone.

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MHN for short said...

I'm sure that your kids would have said, "He was naff then, but unbelievably cool now."

Whether you taught or naught, you are pretty cool in my book! Seriously, you are soooo smart. Even if you DO have a low threshold for pain. ;-)

surly girl said...

my french teacher had a breakdown and weed in the classroom.

i didn't fancy him much.

Steve said...

We had a gorgeous French teacher at our school as well. She was even actually french! Damn shame I was never in her class.

Rowan said...

ok lemme see....there was my math teacher: who always had yellow chalk dust covering his "manly regions" (guess he couldn't wait to make an adjustment), my history teacher who admitted to fiddling with the 18 yr old students and refused to own a car because of the cost but wore armani suits, a different one for every day of the month, as well as never desiring to get married because all women are Peg Bundy's he'd explain, then there was the glass eyed english teacher, the drunk chemistry teacher who'd leave the entire class every day for an hour, come back to check in, then leave the following class again...purposedly to get sloshed. Hrm...there was the geography teacher who personally attacked me breaking my smokes because he said people like me are what is polluting the earth for his lil' uns *taking out a picture to show me his pride and joy* and the business teacher who taught me to type (thank you mr. augustin) who had a jamaican accent and said the same sentence all day long: "kip yer fin -G*hard g*ers un da home rrrrrrrrow! :)

There was the geography/parenting teacher who LITERALLY cried on my shoulder after realizing that I too had children and a long-term relationship (she was going thru a terrible divorce and custody battle at the time she divulged privately to me like a nutter), but my favourite was the family studies teacher, Mrs. Makins who taught my "relationships" class and taught me such important things (my midterm was learning to properly tie a windsor knot for our husbands) and which sexual secrets prove to be best for a lasting marriage (bless her) and my biology teacher, mr. baldauf (who emphasized my love of all things biological and let us practice s&m by taking bloodtests on one another for antigen testing...and letting us diagram the AIDS virus.

Rowan said...

ooooh I know, I'm taking up too much comment space, but I forgot about entering my grade nine, first period of french class where the teacher had written in bold letters across the black board:


I was the only one to get it, and as I snickered at his lame attempt at a joke, we got on famously ever after and I ended up with the highest mark in teh class, 98%

Rowan said...

...that same teacher was known by all students as Mr. Bean because he was a dead ringer for himm, wore the same 1970s brown courderoy suit jackets and matching pants every day.

funny thing said...

I too fancied my French teacher, even though she was not French, chewed her nails and smoked like a chimney.

The other French teacher had the worst breath you can imagine. We used to leave packets of Polo mints on his desk in the hope that he would take the hint, but he never did.

Aaah, memories.

suburban wonder said...

Christ, I swear I didn't know what I was signing on for when I became

drum roll please...


I have breasts, yes, but I'm not drop dead gorgeous by anyone's standards. I don't scratch my minge or tits in public. I don't smoke and am obsessive about my breath. And I haven't the ability to knock up a student (in the American sense of that expression).

I hope to God I have some impression on the students I teach, and that it's a good one. And yes, I have unintentionally set myself up for a lifetime of abuse, with a miniscule pension at the end of it.

It's the end of my Spring Break tomorrow, and I have to say, I miss those little shits. I can't wait to get back to them. How lame is that?

Kyahgirl said...

aw, Bronwen, you're the french teacher I wish I had! You're actually fun :-)

pissoff said...

I just recall leading the singing to one teacher, on the bus ride up to Mt. Washington, to the manner of...

"Abrahms the camel has one ball... Abrahms the camel has one ball... Abrahms the camel has one ball, Go Abrahms Go. Boom, boom, boom, boom."

God, what made me do that. The whole bus joined in and he just sat there looking at us.

Arabella said...

Bronwen, you deserve a Blue Peter badge.
So many rotten teachers in my memory but you sound like one of the bostin kind. Three cheers.