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Saturday, 9 April 2016

A-Z: I Remember......Inspiring Teachers

                               I Remember When......
Recalling Memories of My Childhood

[I am getting ahead here, as I am away a few days next week)

My love  of history, English and languages  was fostered by the INSPIRING TEACHERS I encountered   at my  three secondary schools  (we moved around with my father's job)/  

My recollection is that the women teachers  all seemed quite elderly (though this probably was not the case) and nearly all were unmarried and 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 jingle  "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 that come back to me when answering questions on TV quiz shows.

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" (as in loch)  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 too 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.   

 Copyright © 2016 -  Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved


  1. Me too, I had great teachers.Unfortunately the elementary school my kids went to the teachers were all older and just putting in their time. Too bad as that is the time for inspiration! I moved them to a different school and they did much better.

  2. This is a lovely story. It brings back happy memories of some of my school teachers.
    Aneeta from
    How to Tell a Great Story

  3. I can picture you writing that ditty on the Latin blackboard. So daring.

    Finding Eliza

  4. Teachers can have such an impact on us. I remember my German teacher seemed to be ridiculously exaggerating certain words...until I went to Germany and discovered she was right :) I never did Latin but I used to hear the class who had their lesson before the official school program....don't blame you for writing the quote.

    @cassmob from
    Family History Across The Seas

  5. My teachers will appear on "T" - surprise! I had World History after lunch, and Miss West would stand in front of the class and apply her lipstick without a mirror. I always thought that was an amazing trick.

  6. I really do like this idea for recording memories. I am already thinking that I will follow this concept next year :)
    We moved schools so much that I seem to have clearer memories of the bad teachers, who left an impression!


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