Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Inspiring Teachers: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

52 Weeks Personal Genealogy and History
Teachers  is the topic for Week 41 in Amy Coffin’s and Geneablogger’s 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History series.

My school life spanned three secondary school as we moved around a bit with my father job - the first two were traditional girls-only grammar schools with all female staff.   The last in Edinburgh was my first experience of a co-ed and very different! 

I encountered inspiring teachers who fostered in particular my love of English, history and languages. My recollection is they all seemed quite elderly (though this probably was not the case) and most would fit the now old fashioned description of "spinsters". 

Miss Robinson (English) was a great mimic at adopting dialects and accents.  She brought to life the characters in such plays as "Midsumemrs Night's Dream", "The Rivals" and "She Stoops to Conquer". 

I liked Miss Jones (Latin).  Unusually for me, one day I was brave enough to write on the blackboard the jimgle "Latin is a language as dead as dead can be.  It killed off all the Romans and now it's killing me!  Fortunately when she walked into the classroom she saw the humourous side of it.  

Another Welsh teacher was Miss Edwards who more than anyone made me want to study history - my first love.  It is amazing what facts I learnt many many years ago come back to me when answering quiz questions on TV.

Miss Mutch (German) scared me.  She was from the Shetland Isles, bit of a bean pole, with cropped grey hair and given to wearing viyella checked blouses and v-necked pullovers.  She was burdened with the schoolgirl ditty of "If you miss Miss Mutch, you don't miss much".  I felt doomed from my first German lesson  when my attempt (in front of the class)  to pronounce a lovely German "Ich" came out as "Ick".   Still I persevered.  She was a good teacher, her lessons stuck with me, and I can still get-by in tourist German when abroad. 

From my first term, science bored me stiff.    Our science teacher went by the unfortunate name of Miss Smedley, which was far to easy to change to Miss Smelly.  I could not work up any enthusiasm for learning about microscopic creatures such as the amoeba and hydra, nor get  fired up over a Bunsen burner. My  science knowledge is very poor, which is an awful admission to make in the modern world. The irony is I went on to marry a physics teacher! 

My final secondary school in Edinburgh was the first time in my school life when I was  taught by men   Mr Scott-Allan continued  to develop  my interests in  the past with a new dimension to it now of Scottish history, and Mr Ironsides (known as Tin Ribs) kept  Latin alive for me.

I feel I went through education at the best of times, inspired by some dedicated teachers. 
School days were happy days.   

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for an interesting post Susan. I identified with the German-teacher story. Perhaps life on opposite sides of the globe were more similar than we think. Pauleen

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