OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
Favourite Teachers ... It’s funny how we all have different memories of Teachers from our School days; some good and some not so good. Back then we all had our favourites and we also had those we weren’t too keen on. Whenever I post pictures of Teachers up on OldCiren (FB) the response is usually enormous with “likes” and positive comments far outweighing the critical. It might be 60 years ago but I can still remember all my Teachers; the Lewis Lane ones as well as those from the Deer Park. I remember them for different reasons; some for their kindness in the early days when at the age of five I had to leave my Mother at the iron gates of Lewis Lane Infants School to join my classmates with our surrogate “Mum” for the day, Mrs Thorne; who I later discovered owned the sweetshop round the corner in Dyer Street. Some gave me encouragement: “Killer” Close at the Deer Park pointed me in the right direction educationally and “Johnny” Gent inspired a life-long love of English Literature. But why or how did these well meaning; literally “Old School” Teachers get these nicknames? At Lewis Lane we had “Fanny” Phillips (Vera) and Miss Wobbly-Webbly (Wobbly because in the 1960’s I remember if you had a wobbly tooth she would pull out for you in the staff room). I was reminded recently by an old Ciren friend, of “Boris” Hickman who taught French at the Deer Park. No one ever knew how he gained his nickname and to this day it remains a mystery how a chap from Chesterton who taught French at a school just a mile from where he lived up Chesterton Lane, earned a Russian sobriquet. But not all teachers were referred to by nicknames. Many were referred to, and still are to this day by their formal titles Mr, Mrs or Miss. It came as quite a surprise to me many years after leaving School; meeting several of my old teachers in different Social situations in Ciren, and being granted by them, the privilege of using their first names: Ruth Denning was one who changed from “Mrs” to “Ruth” as I sat with her many times at the Quaker Meeting House in Thomas Street, and in his last years, the once known and revered Mr Card became a firm friend to me as “Ron”.