TEACHERS – Looking Back On The Mid 90s (with the help of my school yearbook) (Part 3)

12 Mar

I turn to the pages reserved for portrait photos of all of the school’s teachers. There are 83. Coincidentally the year of my birth. 46 are women, 37 are men. It’s a pointless, juvenile and sexist thing to do, but I do it anyway; I go through each of the 46 female teachers, counting the ones that I would sleep with now if they appeared exactly as they did then. Five. Two taught foreign languages. At school I never saw them as anything other than stuffy, boring women who I imagined had no life outside of the school. Nothing attractive about them. Now though, through my 30-year old eyes, they look alright. And interesting. Like they’ve got more to talk about than the process of conjugating irregular verbs. And we could chat in different languages if I met them today. About life. But back then I was more concerned with drawing Hitler moustaches on every face in the course book. Brilliant.

Also in the list of five is my Year 8 form tutor. She taught drama and food tech. All us boys knew she was hot, even then, but she was also extremely annoying. Always bollocking me for something insignificant. And in a pretentious voice. But she did look good. Probably the most attractive of all our teachers and the one we all fancied was the English teacher with the Italian name. Her reputation was tarnished though, at least outwardly, among all the boys, when it was discovered that she didn’t regularly shave her armpits. Never bothered me one little bit though. And wouldn’t now either. The fifth teacher I don’t remember what she taught or anything about her. I was never in one of her classes.

—-

I spend hours looking at their faces, just remembering each one individually. A lot of these people were my enemies. Every day felt like a war between me and certain members of staff. I hated them and they hated me. Not all of them. Just some. But it’s funny now, particularly after the four years that I spent teaching English in a language school, to think back to how I used to see my teachers as being almost not human; having no emotions; no sense of humour; no friends; no life. And then I spent years as a young adult, hanging out in the staff room of various language schools, experiencing life on the other side of the fence. And we all had lives. We all had shit going on. We all had big personalities. We all used to look at the clock and pray for the end of class just as much as the kids did. We all used to bitch about certain students.

There was one kid in particular that I taught, a right little pain the arse. Always pushing the limits. Always testing me. I taught him from the age of 11 through to 14. A backchatter. Always had a comeback ready. And all the other kids would laugh and encourage him. When I was in a good mood I used to enjoy teaching him. He kept me on my toes. But when I was tired and irritable, which was more often than not, I would dread having him in my classroom. He never gave a moment’s peace. Always chatting shit. And he spoke perfect English, this kid, learned more from American TV than from me, and would use his vast vocabulary to disrupt my class as best he could. This kid was really just like me at that age. Not that this earnt him any leeway. I used to bollock him, make him sit away from his mates and with the boffins instead;  tell him I’d speak to his parents, make him spend his break in the classroom doing the work that he hadn’t done in class time. And he would complain incessantly at these perceived injustices. Just like I used to as a young teenager. At times I would have a laugh with this kid. He wasn’t a kid you disliked, he was just a bit too lairy. Sometimes he came up with a piss-take of me that I had to take my hat off and admit yes that was funny. And to be fair to the kid, he could take the shit as much as he could give it, and as he got older and started dressing like Eminem, in silly baggy jeans and with this thick chain round his neck, he didn’t sulk when I poked fun at his attire in front of the rest of the class, to bring him back down a peg. He could laugh at himself. I digress. Where was I? Ah yea, remembering that kid and how we used to battle constantly for control of the classroom has made me realise how difficult I must have made life for so many of my own teachers. I was definitely the nightmare they spoke about in the staff room. Mostly I felt that I was more intelligent than them. This made it difficult to respect them. It’s not the right attitude to go into school every day with! I also now realise that kids like that one I taught, and others like him that I also had to tell off for pissing around or not doing their homework, they wouldn’t have seen me as the youthful, partying, liberal thinking, football-playing, recreational drug-using, chilled out teacher that I saw myself as; they would have seen me as the enemy; the authority figure. The stuffy adult. I never looked at it like this until now. Man, I was cool and they didn’t know it!

—-

There’s the lesbian PE teacher who used to come in the boys toilets when we were pissing in the urinal and tell us to hurry the fuck up and get in the gymnasium.
“Miss, you’re not allowed in here!”
“Ah don’t worry about her, mate, there’s nothing in here that she’s interested in seeing. She’s a lezza, ain’t ya miss!”
The nasty stuff we used to say in such blazé fashion. Didn’t realise, did we? She looks like someone I’d smoke a spliff with now.

There’s the creepy old and massively obese science teacher who got one of his sixth form students pregnant and then left his wife and family to set up home with her. At least that’s the story that was passed down from generation to generation to generation at my school. He’d worked there over 20 years. In the photo he looks like a fat Kelsey Grammer of Frasier fame. Actually no he don’t. Not at all. Looks like the sort of bloke no stranger to sexual harrassment complaints. Looks like the sort of man that if you opened a newspaper and saw a photo of him underneath the headline ‘Police rescue women held captive for sixteen years in a homemade dungeon in the basement of local man’s house,’ you would say, ‘Ah, doesn’t surprise me. Doesn’t surprise me one bit.’ He’s that guy.

One teacher looks like an evil high-ranking Nazi officer. With sinister eyes that the wonky spectacles fail to disguise. Reminds me of Adolf Eichmann. It’s uncanny! He’s also got a funny name, like a comedy pervert character, the type you’d find in a Carry On film. I’m not gonna write his name down though, not after giving him such an undesirable introduction.

Another teacher is a spitting image of Walter White from Breaking Bad, before he broke bad. I can’t remember what he taught, but let’s just assume he was a science teacher. And that he went on to become the biggest crystal meth cook in the south of England. We don’t really have crystal meth here though, do we? Let’s say that he went on to become the biggest manufacturer of Meow in the country. He was the man responsible for getting a nation addicted to the stuff a few years back. Yea. That bloke taught in my school, man!

The Welsh science teacher actually looks Welsh even in his photo. I can hear him speaking. And I can hear all us kids making sheep noises throughout the lesson. Every science lesson the same thing. And he would take it and take it and take it, pretending it didn’t bother him. And then he’d explode. And then he’d realise we were winning if he let it affect him, so he’d go back to being cool again. Plus he always had a bit of anti-English banter to throw back at us. Funny bloke.

There’s the religious education teacher who’s name wasn’t Miss Fish but that’s what all us kids called her. We said it was because she smelt of fish, which looking back isn’t a nice thing to say at all, but she didn’t actually smell of fish. At least I don’t think she did. If she did, I never caught a wiff of it. I think the real reason we called her Miss Fish was because she was a religious Christian lady who wore a little golden fish symbol on her necklace, and also had a fish sticker in her car window. The religious fish symbol. I don’t even really remember why she was called Miss Fish, just that she was. By every kid in every year group. The poor woman was not cut out for the cut throat world of kids. She used to get locked in the walk-in cupboard in her classroom on an almost weekly basis. It was such a famous thing that we had all heard about it before we’d even moved up to secondary school. We knew about her in middle school; the legend passed down from older siblings. After it had happened yet another time, she actually had a telephone installed in the cupboard so that she could ring for help when it happened. Ah, the days before mobile phones! Anyway she got locked in there again and one of the kids cut the phone wire. How bad is that? In the end she had a nervous breakdown and was signed off sick, never to return. She wasn’t young either, this teacher, she was into her late fifties and had the demeanor of Ned Flander’s wife. Horrible the way she was treated. I genuinely feel bad remembering. Never ever should have been a teacher though. Especially not a teacher of religious education. RE class was considered by every kid to be a chance to have a chat with your mate and to piss around as much as you liked, in the knowledge that this completely out of her depth religious lady would be sat at the front, totally given up on trying to enforce any sort of authority whatsoever. She was just happy not to be locked in the cupboard.

One old hippie looking teacher looks like that American painter that used to come on the telly in the 80s and 90s. The Joy of Painting. The bloke who Jeremy and Mark refer to as God in Peep Show. ‘Let’s see what God’s up to.’

My business studies teacher looks like he’s auditioning for a role as one of the Kray brothers in an upcoming made-for-telly drama.

There’s the history teacher who I can now see is quite overtly gay, but who I don’t think it ever crossed our minds as kids in school because he wasn’t camp, and if you weren’t camp then us kids didn’t notice you were gay. At least, he didn’t seem camp. But now I realise this is because he is more of what I believe they call in the homosexual community a ‘bear.’ The shaved head and the little chin beard. A little stud earring in his ear. He looks like the sort of bloke you see walking up and down the promenade at night, in between the pier and the Marina, where those dodgy bushes are that you know not to walk through after dark. He was an alright bloke. And seeing as how I came away with an A in GCSE history I can’t say anything bad about the guy. Good teacher.

And there’s our music teacher, a bald black lady who would wear a different wig every day. But her ‘hair’ always started about four inches back from her forehead, which is why we always referred to her as the Predator. Cos her head looked like the Predator. From the film Predator.

20070514-hot4teacherClick here to read part 1
And here for part 2

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