I was chatting with a friend the other day about some of the weird and wonderful teachers of our schooldays at the school I will refer to as Horrid Porkway.
Some of the teachers were serious and grumpy, some were a little deranged and others just plain weird! Of course there were a few brilliant teachers as well, which is probably how I managed to leave school with pretty good qualifications and a modicum of sanity!
One teacher who is memorable for all the wrong reasons â€“ we’ll call her ‘Miss Moo’ was a trifle strange. She had quite striking long red hair, but on her it just made her resemble a cross between a Fraggle and one of the Riddlers! You may not remember these 1980’s children’s tv characters so here is a couple of pictures to fire up your imagination.
Unfortunately for Miss Moo, she had none of the charisma or charm of these characters and always wore a frown and a dour expression. Miss Moo definitely did not like children, and she seemed to quite despise teaching them too. Miss Moo always struck me as someone who considered as herself middle class and better than any of us mere mortals. This was not backed up by her vocabulary or pronunciation. She’d often use words in entirely the wrong context and would pronounce words like lasagna as ‘Laz-arg-nyah’ which had us in fits of giggles.
Her trademarks included bright red lipstick which bled into the deep set wrinkles around her mouth, and spiky mascara which looked as if she’d plucked the legs off a deformed tarantula and attached them to her eyelids. Her most prized possession seemed to be a shiny red sports car and I’m not sure if she was a terrible driver (as it seemed she always struggled to get out of the school grounds) or if she was just doing laps to show off her car!
Miss Moo taught home economics, which at my school consisted of ‘how to shop at the supermarket’ as if us girls need to be taught how to shop! It also included so called â€œcookery lessonsâ€. Or more accurately food preparation! One week Miss Moo showed her expertise on how to make a fruit salad. She was none too impressed when I pointed out that ‘chopping up a bit of fruit and bunging in it in a bowl is not cooking and therefore a bit patronising.’ I wasn’t even trying to be precocious. We were second formers and if you can’t figure out how to make a fruit salad at that age you may as well quit school and get a job dishing up burgers for a living!
Another week she really pushed the boat out and showed us how to make cucumber sandwiches! Well, we were certainly on the road to become Michelin star chefs at this point! I told my mother that I felt this an utter waste of my time in learning. Having been making my own sandwiches for about 7 years at that point, the prospect of being shown how to butter bread and cut cucumber just felt a teeny bit insulting to our intelligence to say the least! My mother agreed and wrote a letter for me to take into class. The letter explained that I was more than capable of making my own sandwiches more than efficiently already. Therefore she would not be wasting the hard earned house keeping money on a lesson that would not teach me anything that I didn’t already know, on food that would be wasted. My mother was correct of course, times were hard and the lesson ended at 15:30 pm and who eats sandwiches at that time! Miss Moo did not take too this kindly to this and I was ‘punished’ by being made to read for most of the duration of the lesson. Of course I was delighted,!Reading was my favourite past time! In my adult wisdom I see now that I should have kept this too myself, but when she repeatedly swanned in demanding ‘how are you getting on’ and I replied sweetly ‘Fine, this is a brilliant book!’ She changed my task to something far less interesting â€“ doh! From that point on I learned it’s better to keep some things to yourself when someone thinks they have the better of you!
Miss Moo got her own back on me when we attempted to make a rice pudding one week. We weren’t a rich family and my mother substituted pudding rice for regular rice. Like any impatient teen I failed to remember my mothers instruction ‘You only need a small percentage of this type of rice’ and the result was more ‘rice bricks’ than ‘rice pudding’! Miss Moo delighted in my failure informing me I was useless in a ‘this is what happens when I let you imbeciles cook’ tone of voice and ordered me to wash all the pans out and stayed behind. Perhaps justice was served when Claire a fellow classmate popped some of the rice pudding into Miss Moo’s coffee when she wasn’t looking. It was a struggle to keep a straight face when she sat fishing bits out with a pointy taloned finger and a face like a slapped arse. Some of the teachers could be more like fellow pupils than teachers!
I’ll blog some more anecdotes from my school days soon. Perhaps you had a bizarre or fantastic teacher and would like to share your story in the comments box. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!