I was thinking about a teacher who came out of retirement to teach my class. He was ancient, even older than my grandad.
In my memory he looks like Professor Stanley Unwin and do you know what, on reflection there is probably some childish logic in that. He did speak a kind of Basic Engly Twentyfido, but I do not recall the experience with deep joy and my teacher certainly didn’t have the lovely smile of Stanley Unwin.
On further reflection he actually looked more like the teacher in Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”. Those two images could hardly be more different could they?
He wore his trousers high and was constantly pulling them right up to his armpits. The trousers would soon descend back down to his waist, so he’d hitch them up again.
I found this fascinating since my mum was always telling me off for hitching my knickers up and yet here was this man who was plenty old enough to know better doing the same sort of thing.
Sometimes he’d stand with one foot on a chair. Perhaps this stopped his trousers sliding down quite so quickly. Who knows?
He was tall and thin and although I only had him as a teacher for a few months he made a lasting impression on me.
Wasn’t the trousers or the foot on the chair that I remember most vividly. He drummed a piece of knowledge into us as if it was something of vital importance. I was about eight at the time and when someone talked about something important, I damn well listened.
“Library is spelt the same way as February – it is libruary – lie-brew-arry. Repeat after me . . . lie – brew – arry. It is spelt exactly as it is said. Libruary.”
I won’t embarrass myself by telling you just how many years it took me to learn the correct spelling.
Ah, they don’t make teachers like that any more. Or do they? My daughter had one who crossed out her spelling of skates and replaced it with scates. Sigh.