Teachers: those who instruct many in virtue, will shine like bright stars for all eternity (Dan 11:33)

Teachers: those who instruct many in virtue, will shine like bright stars for all eternity (Dan 11:33)

Blogger Leitourgos writes: 

[I’ve been] thinking about a possible topic for those lighter threads which occasionally appear in the blog and which I find very enjoyable. We all have a great debt towards our teachers. I certainly was extremely lucky, no blessed, with my primary school teachers who not only taught me to read, but to love reading and books. (God bless them all until we meet merrily in Paradise!) Why not a thread on our teachers and what they did for us humanly and as regards the faith? Just a suggestion.

Editor replies…

A great suggestion.  I have a couple of memories of teachers who made a difference in my primary school years;  one was a very young teacher who rewarded our efforts and behaviour by reading us a short story at the end of the lesson, always about children, and always with a moral, something edifying for us to ponder.  The other was an older teacher, who gave cash rewards for good work – so I won a sixpenny piece for something I’d written on one occasion.  I can’t remember what I’d written, but I remember what I bought with the sixpence – two MB (chocolate) bars and two Swizzle lollies, the reason being that my pal at the time insisted that we split the win 50/50;  she liked the lollies and I was a chocaholic even then, so the solution an MB bar and Swizzle lolly each.

Share your memories, serious or fun, about school and teachers.

Comments (17)

  • Josephine Reply

    I’m afraid all I can remember about primary school is that it was very strict. The tawse (belt) was in use then and we would be strapped for just talking in class, not being very disruptive, sometimes you even got the belt for getting work wrong, e.g. sums. We were given a bottle of milk during the day, which I hated, and so, all in all, my memories of primary are not the best. I’ll be interested to read others’ memories, though. I tend to find when speaking to friends that they have happy memories of primary.

    May 9, 2022 at 10:17 am
    • Lily Reply

      Josephine,

      I’m the same – I don’t really remember much about primary and what I do remember is not great!

      I think primaries changed so the younger generation have happier memories. For me, my memories are mostly strict teachers and that horrible milk, LOL!

      May 9, 2022 at 11:05 am
    • Leitourgos Reply

      In our area the milk was contained in pyramid-shaped cartons which were delivered in round orange crates. These were stacked up in a covered corner of the playground which simply reeked of sour milk. Yuck!

      May 9, 2022 at 10:29 pm
      • editor

        Leitourgos,

        Never heard of that before – we had simple crates with small bottles of milk. To this day, I can’t drink a glass of milk – memories are made of this!

        May 10, 2022 at 10:24 am
  • Michael Reply

    Dear friends

    Josephine, Lily

    I’m afraid l have similar experiences in primary and secondary school including the milk !

    The one consolation was that we had an excellent faith formation on the part of some not the majority of our teachers who knew their stuff and parish life was very good, with older priests who had been formed an active long before the Council.

    We had Eucharistic Adoration Benediction The Rosary along with trips to Carfin, Nunraw etc. However in the main they were voices crying in the wilderness in the context of the wider school.

    In saying that they did enough to make a difference with me unlike many of my contemporaries who have disowned God, Faith etc. even their children.

    Till my dying day that the best teachers l ever had were my priests, grandparents and parents. All products of a different age and time. They were very devout Catholics daily mass etc. Grandparents were Franciscan Third Order. In addition they all knew the Faith praise God. I thank God for them every day.

    Every blessing

    🙏Michael

    May 9, 2022 at 11:45 am
    • Mack Reply

      Michael,

      That is my best memory, too, of the catechism lessons at primary. Thank God that we were given the basics there, unlike now, where they seem to talk about nothing except the climate, LOL!

      May 9, 2022 at 12:02 pm
      • Michael 🙏

        Amen 🙏

        May 9, 2022 at 1:04 pm
  • Margaret Mary Reply

    I think primary schools are very different places nowadays. A few years ago I was invited by a teacher friend into her primary class and it was absolute chaos. The kids were roaming around, doing different tasks (I suppose) and talking away. This was a far cry from my own schooldays, when we sat at our desks in rows and listened to the teacher before going on to do whatever our work was. I don’t think I’d have liked it, if we were all moving around and chatting. No, I think I’d have hated it, actually.

    I don’t remember any teachers in particular but I don’t remember disliking any of them either. It was just “school” LOL!

    May 9, 2022 at 2:44 pm
  • Frankier Reply

    I loved primary school. We were taught by the Sisters of the Cross and Passion. They used to give us exercises even and the rosaries hanging at their waist would be bouncing up and down. They must have been a lot younger than we thought at the time.

    Mother Theresa was the headmistress, a very clever woman, We got plenty of poetry which I still remember: Megs Merrilies, The Fighting Temeraire, Wordsworths,”I wandered lonely”, Vita Lampada, The Battle of Balaclava, to name only a few.

    I used to love the “speed and alacrity” sessions where my main rival was a girl of my own age. It felt great to beat her to an answer. In later life, she had a daughter who was a scriptwriter and producer for shows like Coronation Street.

    We were even, the altar boys, taught the Latin responses to the Mass by the nuns and it had to be perfect because of the strictness of our parish priest. He was so strict he used to watch us extinguishing the candles after Mass to make sure all the smoke was away before removing the extinguisher. He reckoned that, otherwise, the wick would become brittle and break. This would make it difficult to re-light them since the long “candles” were actually metal tubes with spring wicks.

    I lived in a mining village where Catholics of Irish descent weren`t exactly loved and any Catholic boy misbehaving would, at times, have meant a visit to the school by the local lawman. Mother Therese would normally thank them for their visit and remark to them going away, “I take it, officer, that you have reason to visit the protestant school regularly also”.

    The irony of it all is that when going into secondary school in town the (Catholic) teachers tended to look down on pupils from convent educated schools. One even used to state that “all we were any good for was for saying prayers”.

    The nuns, in fact, were under greater scrutiny at that time by the local Education Authority than they probably were, especially Irish nuns.

    I always felt that, after our parents, it was the sisters who taught us the true, and I mean TRUE, Catholic faith.

    May 9, 2022 at 4:03 pm
  • Theresa Rose Reply

    I have memories too of having the small bottle of milk throughout my primary and secondary education.

    Josephine,

    I too agree about the strictness in primary school. Rowdiness and disruptive behaviour was not tolerated and it was a scandal to be sent to the headmaster. And, the parents would be contacted.

    For arithmetic, we had the Deputy Headmaster, and he certainly used the tawse (belt) if we got our sums wrong. On one occasion this teacher had marked a particular sum of mine as wrong. I recognised that particular sum and looked back to a previous page and found it – lo and behold it had been marked correct.

    I did go back to him looking rather puzzled and he did amend it and marked the sum correct. I think with a fair number of pupils in the class, he too could make an easy mistake. But, I think the manner in which you approach a teacher, or, anyone for that matter can help in resolving something that helps both parties.

    May 9, 2022 at 4:58 pm
    • Michaela Reply

      Theresa Rose ,

      Your story about your arithmetic teacher reminded me of this story –

      After a teacher had finished his English lesson and his class had filed out, a tenth grader stayed behind to confront him.

      “I don’t appreciate being singled out,” he told his teacher.

      The teacher was confused. “What do you mean?”

      “I don’t know what the ‘oxy’ part means, but I know what a ‘moron’ is, and you looked straight at me when you said it.”

      LOL! I thought I’d better post the meaning of oxymoron in case anyone doesn’t know, so I copied this, with example, from an online dictionary: An oxymoron is a self-contradicting word or group of words (as in Shakespeare’s line from Romeo and Juliet, “Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!”)

      May 9, 2022 at 5:18 pm
      • editor

        Michaela,

        Oxymoron story – love it!

        May 9, 2022 at 6:46 pm
  • Michaela Reply

    I don’t remember teachers too well but I do believe I was given a good grounding in everything, English especially, because other friends tell me they struggled with English, spelling and punctuation and I never did. Also, our catechism learning was thorough.

    May 9, 2022 at 5:14 pm
  • editor Reply

    Well, it’s a bit disappointing to see so many unhappy or, at least, unenthusiastic memories of primary school. I’m sorry to say, I can really only add to that. It wasn’t until I got to secondary level that I really enjoyed school.

    Maybe Leitourgos will have some enlightening or fun stories about school to share – or will he/she/they be like all those other bloggers who have suggested a topic and then disappeared into thin air? One wonders 😀 But time, folks, will tell. Indeed, time will tell all 😀

    May 9, 2022 at 6:50 pm
  • Leitourgos Reply

    MB chocolate bars… now that does bring back memories… an outer layer of dark chocolate enclosing a white fondant centre … a bit like a slightly downmarket version of Fry’s Chocolate Cream, but I loved them, especially straight from the fridge with a cup of tea.

    I was generally blessed in my teachers. I can still remember the names of those of my primary years, even if I am no longer sure about the sequence (tempus fugit … et nos cum ipso). Almost none of them had degrees, for in those days you generally went into primary teaching after a three year diploma at a college of education. But they certainly knew their stuff and were keen to pass it on. I guess what I mean to say is that theirs was a vocation, and it showed. A common thread that ran through them all was their promotion of reading and writing. The school itself had a small library, and we were positively encouraged to use the larger local authority library, so that books were very much part of life.

    Secondary school, where there was a different teacher for every subject, was more patchy, but there too I encountered the cream. I will never forget my first year English teacher, a Mr Lochrie, and a Mrs Caulderwood further up the school in the same subject. They were simply fantastic at getting young people to engage with literature, be it the novel or poetry. Another major influence was a history teacher by the name of Cummings. His classroom was like a university lecture theatre, with the seating rising in tiers towards the back. It was most fitting, because his classes were basically lectures. I could have listened to him for hours as he taught us to look at history (and politics) from more than one direction.

    Scottish education in the 1970s was dominated by the Labour Party which had bought heavily into the prejudices of a man called Anthony Crosland (of Highgate School and Trinity College, Oxford, no less) who famously told his wife, Susan, that ‘If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to destroy every f***king grammar school in England. And Wales and Northern Ireland’. The ‘ comprehensive’ system he did so much to impose did more to damage the futures of working class children than anything else apart from the rise of the fatherless society promoted by the welfare state. I have fond memories of my schooldays, and I had some great teachers, but I am left with feeling that the interests of we kids played third fiddle to political ideology and to the interests of the teaching unions.

    May 9, 2022 at 10:15 pm
    • editor Reply

      Leitourgos,

      Excuse ME, but it’s Fry’s chocolate bars which are a downmarket version of the MB bars. Get your priorities right!

      May 10, 2022 at 10:27 am
      • Leitourgos

        I stand corrected … and not for the first time. I should add that they are still available in Scotland on the internet, although I try to avoid sugar these days. Another sign of time’s passing …

        May 12, 2022 at 4:16 am

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