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This is a question Awesome teachers

Teachers have been getting a right kicking recently and it's not fair. So, let's hear it for the teachers who've inspired you, made you laugh, or helped you to make massive explosions in the chemistry lab. (Thanks to Godwin's Lawyer for the suggestion)

(, Thu 17 Mar 2011, 11:18)
Pages: Popular, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Mrs Lewis, English.
I always found English to be one of the more boring lessons; poetry-appreciation, Shakespeare and, worst of all, Jane fecking Austen. I mean, really - what do I care if a bunch of neurotic Victorian bints get all moist at the thought of taking tea in Mr. Bingley's gazebo? I'm fourteen for goodness sake. I like football, Neighbours, Knightmare, Guns N Roses and, in a very shy and not really-understanding-why sort of way, girls. Oh Mrs. Bennet's just said something witty and Victorian, whoop-de-fucking-doo.

During the study of said author my work must have been markedly more disinterested than usual as I was asked to stay behind after class for a chat. Mrs Lewis was one of those try-to-be cool "I'm not your instructor, I'm your friend" type teachers; early 20's and yet to be worn down by the drudgery of teaching teenagers day-in, day-out.

She spoke candidly and said my work wasn't just bad, it was awful. My basic grammar and understanding were fine but my attention to detail was woeful. I'd get characters' names wrong in essays and so forth. With more than just a touch of fear I explained it was, frankly, because I had no interest whatsoever in the characters, story, setting or any of the dreary goings-on that actually very rarely went on.

She paused and there was that awful "oh-no" second where I started picturing detentions and letters home.

"Well what sort of books do you like?" was her surprising response. Honesty seemed to be working so far so I just let the nerdiness flow. "Horror, mainly. You know, Stephen King and that? I quite like Clive Barker too".

Again, I was just expecting derision. Instead, she told me that, for my next composition, why didn't I consider writing in a similar style to the authors I admired? The bell went and I wandered off to my next lesson, pondering what she'd said.

Long story short, my next essay was titled Pride And Pestilence. I'd turned Mr. Darcy into a raging, drunken Jack Torrence figure. He'd get roaringly drunk and go out murdering prostitutes. He got the Bennett girls hooked on opium and eventually co-erced them into murdering their own mother. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it but, given the subject matter, was somewhat trepidatious about handing it in. I let a friend read it first. His response of "Dude, that's awesome but you'll get expelled" didn't help. I had no choice really though. It was either hand it in or say I'd not done my homework.

When homework was handed back it was always in reverse order with everyone's marks read aloud. The D's first, then the C minuses etc. I was a standard C usually.

Mine came last.

With an A+.

With distinction.

She read it to the class.

I've never seen such captivated 14 year olds.

She asked to keep it to show to a few other people.

One of those, with my permission, put it forward to a short-story competiton.

It won.

And was included in a monthly short story magazine.

I went from disinterested teen to published author within a few weeks.

I now work as a writer.

So thank you Mrs Lewis, I can't remember if I ever said it at the time, but that ten-minute chat changed everything. If I were to meet you now I'd say what I was too afraid to say back then.

"Miss, you have the most awesome tits I have ever seen".
(, Thu 17 Mar 2011, 14:26, 17 replies)
The Speech
Fans will remember that I was schooled at a minor public school.

One of the bigger lads at the back thought he'd cheek up the new physics teacher:

"Oi!" cried the lad, in his posh voice, to the teacher, "Why don't you fuck off back to South Africa?!"

His sycophants laughed and beamed their approval.

The teacher - a stocky man in his early 30s, who had opened his first lesson with a talk on centrifugal force, displaying it with a genuinely impressive display of yo-yoing, including Rocking The Cradle and all that - walked over slowly to the lad.

The lad - as I said, was one of the bigger ones - a stereotype of the public schoolboy: an over-priviledged, arrogant shit, who's probably now in parliamentary office, MD of several failing companies, and taking back-handers from banks in exchange for signing off deals on brown-field sites. He stood up, equal to the teacher.

The teacher stood in front of him, eyeballing him, and the lad stared back defiantly.

"When I started teaching, my first lesson was in a school in Durban. I walked into the classroom, where there were two boys bigger than you beating a girl with sticks for refusing to be their whore. As I walked in one of them pulled out a gun, pointed it at me, and shouted 'OI! TEACHER! FUCK OFF!". I taught both those boys and that girl to both read and to write.

YOU smell of talcum powder, get pocket money sent to you each week from your daddy in Dubai, and think that smoking cigarettes is cool. You've already got a car waiting for you for your birthday, you'll have a job as soon as you leave school, but I know your dad will thrash you if you get a bad grade, so if you want to take your chance, be my guest, but I'M staying here."

With that he put his hand on the boy's shoulder, and pushed him down hard into his seat.
(, Tue 22 Mar 2011, 11:38, 5 replies)
Friend of my folks
was brother-in-law to my Year 9 maths teacher (who I shall call Mr Smith in this post). Brother-in-law once regaled the following tale to me, which is probably bullshit, but I always found it amusing.

One fine day in the past, Mr Smith comes into his morning maths lesson. One of those old roll-down blackboards sits at the front of the classroom. Smith rolls it down to find:

"Mr Smith is a cunt."

scrawled across it in huge letters. Smith goes absolutely apeshit, informs class that they are staying there all day until someone comes into his office and owns up to it.

With that, he leaves the stunned class in silence and goes to wait in his office next door.

According to his brother-in-law, Smith wrote it himself as he was hungover and couldn't be arsed to teach.
(, Tue 22 Mar 2011, 11:48, 4 replies)
i have no shame in admitting i banged my teacher
The shame comes in admitting I was homeschooled.
(, Tue 22 Mar 2011, 19:02, 6 replies)
Cheeky pearoast
The wonder that was Mr Wallace.

I am a chubby ginger nerd, not gay, but fairly camp. I don't like sports, and was sent to an all-boys secondary school.

The bullies could smell me from miles away.

My entire school life was a misery. I was beaten, tortured, abuse was hurled at me from every direction, I was once bottled in the street for being ginger.

My mother called the school, who asked me who the bullies were, gave them one stinking detention (and let's face it, these kids probably had one every day anyway) which just fuelled the beatings, and my father did nothing as, apparantly, having your face rubbed in mud builds character.

I went the sensible route of telling people, the stupid route of attempted suicide, even the useless route of acting all friendly to your attackers, but nothing worked.

One day, when I was 16, I got pulled out of school early because my nan had died. In the time it took my mum to pick me up, and drive me home, my dog had also died.

The next day, I arrived at the school gate with a note for my form tutor explaining what had happened, and just asking to keep an eye on me if I got upset all of a sudden.
It was taken out of my pocket by a big fucker called David. He was one of those kids who must have hit puberty around 4 years old, and had a full beard before anyone else had pubes.
He read the note to his friends, ripped it up, and began to tell a delightful story about him having sex with my grandmother's corpse.

I know it is a cliché, but I realy don't remember much of what happened, as it was all a bit of a blur. All I know is that when I was found by the fence in the foetal position, all of David's 'friends' had abandoned him, and he was lying face down by the kerb, screaming, attempting to gather up his teeth.

It slowly came out as the school investigated it that I had literally jumped at him, onto his back, and hit him until he had fallen to the ground, then smashed his head against the floor.

I was about to be expelled when my favourite teacher of all time, Mr Wallace, who had, on many occasions councilled me through problems, and who I still consider a friend today, called attention to a folder.
In true 'Miracle on 34th St' fashion, it was emptied onto the head's desk. It contained no less than 100 sheets of paper, each of them chronicalling a bullying/attack incident against me over the course of around 5 years. The bottling to the head, my bag being set alight, being force-fed insects, they were all there, and nobody had done a fucking thing to help me except Mr Wallace, who saved my life.

I make no apoligies for length, but probably should for coming across as a mental-case.
(, Thu 17 Mar 2011, 12:49, 12 replies)
Dr. P
We had the best GCSE biology teacher who unfortunately left just before the actual GCSEs and was replaced by a total cockshite, (but thats for another story).

Some of his best moments:
- Teaching the basics of DNA using fizzy laces and jelly beans held together with toothpicks.
- Explaining dilution using farts, and 'fart atoms.'

His best moment comes from an afternoon of sports. We students were 'warming up' with a few laps of the sports pitch, and as usual the larger, more unfit kid (who shall be referred to as R from now) was lagging behind. The PE teacher was shouting out and generally putting the kid down, with some comments that shouldn't really be said by a teacher. Anyway R trips and the teacher bursts out laughing and adding more condescending comments. At this moment Dr. P was walking past the sports field and casually shouts, "At least he's not fucking the librarian," (a large unsightly hell demon) and walks into the science building. This turned out to be true, and of course spreads around the school like wildfire, causing said PE teacher's wife to find out. Last I heard he was fired and is living at home with his parents.

At the end of year assembly when Dr. P left he had the longest, and loudest cheer of the year.
(, Fri 18 Mar 2011, 2:22, 5 replies)
Best Chemistry Lesson Ever
Best Chemistry Lesson Ever

Our chemistry teacher, likened to a certain German dictator from the 20th century, once provided me with the best lesson at school ever.

In the days when you could conduct experiments with proper chemicals and without safety gear, and setting alight your fellow pupils did not result in a lawsuit, our class gathered for an hour’s lesson where our teacher was to demonstrate example of exothermic reactions. So a few pops and bangs might have been expected. We all sat on the curved benches set in front of the main desk – no safety glass – and the closest were only three feet from the action.

Experiment 1. Just for starters – to show a reaction using iodine solution. Teacher had to draw the iodine up into a teat pipette. Teat pipette had hole at top – teacher got iodine solution burning his hand. ‘Cripes!’ and other non abusive exclamations came forth as he hopped about with hand under the tap. Well that was fun we thought as self inflicted pain on a not so popular teacher provided us with mild amusement.

Experiment 2. A bit more adventurous stuff here. Teacher dons overalls, rubber gloves and a full-face visor to demonstrate the exothermic effect of pouring an acid onto some other material. Class wide eyed and excited – but unlike teacher, with no protection. Could we witness something more dramatic?

Crackle, loud bang and puff of smoke as the chemicals did what they were meant to. But the real focus of attention was teacher jumping about in pain clutching his ear shouting ‘Crikey!’ His ear being the only part of his body exposed – thus the hot acid had only one course of direction and hit his lug. This was good, and we didn’t hold back on the laughter.

After the clear up and class settling down, we moved on. Surely it couldn’t get any better than this.

Experiment 3. Theory. Take a small bit of sodium metal and drop it into a tank of water. If you don’t know what happens, it will immediately react with water, violently give of hydrogen, which will ignite with a few sparks & flame. Result – mild entertainment for a few seconds, as the amount of sodium used is always small and the tank of water has a lid avoiding anything flying out. Well that is what should happen.

Experiment 3. Actual. In our experiment, teacher forgot that he can’t teach and think at the same time. Whilst ensuring the class were taught the theory, he tried to carry out the practical experiment simultaneously:
Step one – take the jar of sodium metal with protective oil to stop the sodium reacting with air.
Step two – carefully drain all the oil out of the jar, leaving just the sodium metal inside.
Step three – walk over to the built-in tap & sink at the side of the desk.
Step four – fill the jar with water from the tap.
Step five – momentarily realise you have done the most dangerous thing ever in your entire life and there is nothing you can do to reverse it.
Step six – decide what best to do next.
Step seven – decide dropping the jar in the sink is the best action – a sink now full of water.
Step eight – stand back, watch the pyrotechnic effect you have caused and issue the most profound expletives you can think of.

Result – exploding sink; hot burning sodium flying everywhere; thick white smoke engulfing the room; screaming pupils scrambling over the benches and each other to get to the back of the room; muffled ‘Cripes’, ‘crikeys’ and ‘cor blimeys’.
Even teacher’s use of the CO2 fire extinguisher had no effect as the reaction continued for about three minutes.

And when it was over and the smoke had cleared, teacher realised nothing much else could be taught that day. So announced end of lesson, collect books and go. So we did, and most went with evidence to prove that they were not making up a story about the last hour – we all had holes burnt through our jotters on the pages where we had written ‘Exothermic Reactions.’

Now that was the best chemistry lesson ever.
(, Tue 22 Mar 2011, 21:33, 19 replies)
My son's A Level maths tutor, Lance, was so keen that he taught from his deathbed.
He was taken ill towards the end of the crucial term. In hospital he was under STRICT doctor's orders NOT to do ANY teaching WHATSOEVER.

The small cadre of Oxbridge hopefuls in his class were however instructed that, should they be kind enough to visit him, and happened to have their workbooks about them, there could always be a little 'chat' about the general subject of mathematics.

Lance died just before their exam results came out. All the lads passed and went up to their choice of university. He'd have been delighted, but not surprised.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 19:34, 3 replies)
Mr C and the swamp donkeys
I've been lurking on here for far far far too many years so its about time i popped my QOTW cherry *pop*

In high school we had a fairly mundane science teacher named Mr C. Brown cordoroy trousers,grey hair, glasses, you know the sort.

Great pleasue was taken by the entire class in mentally torturing him (monotonous humming passed around the class to make him go mad, chalk rubbed along the edge of his desk so he'd get a white crotch- the usual genius teenage torture).

I can't recall how this particular topic came up one day in class but it turned out he was a massive radiohead fan (this is back in the mid 90's hey day, when we were all about 15 or so) and loved going to gigs of any sort. He said that if enough of us wanted to go to a particular gig, and provided we got parental consent etc he'd book tickets and take us there and back in the school minibus.
He took a group of the lads in the class to see the Prodigy and when the girls of the class wanted to go and see Space in Sheffield he gladly obliged as his own teenage daughters wanted to go too.

The day came round and a dozen of us piled into the school minibus, his wife and daughters already sat in there. In our imaginations we expected his girls to be mini female versions of himself- geeky and a bit boring. They weren't. They were the most horrendous swamp donkey fat slags you've ever seen. The entire journey his wife and daughters shrieked, belittled and critisised him which i thought was appauling in front of his students.

When we reached the gig, the wife and daughters dissapeared off to "av a fag" leaving us to boogie the night away, Mr C stood patiently at the back nodding his head along with the music.

He wasn't the most amazing teacher but after that most of us had a new found respect for Mr C, he must have had a bit of a crap life at home and despite most of the kids in his class being swines, he'd still try and be as nice as possible.

The moral of this? I guess even the average teachers can still be a bit awesome in their own way.

Sorry for the length- its been building for a long time!
(, Thu 17 Mar 2011, 16:18, 1 reply)

Age 14-15, school camping trip to France which had turned into the usual total nightmare for the teachers. Basically a group of 30 kids who would find any excuse to sneak off and get drunk or stoned by any means necessary. Some of us fancied ourselves as a bit more mature one night, so after curfew donned the Gallini t shirts, found a bar in town that didnt ask for ID and sat there with a freshly poured pitcher of lager, and a Galloise each acting like big men.

Barely had i sipped at mine when a tap on the shoulder and there is Mr W, my maths teach glaring down at me, a somewhat scary sight it has to be said. He looked me square in the eye as he picked up my pint and downed it in a impressively seamless one take,

"Nice of you to buy me a pint Matty, now you lot get your fucking arses back to the campsite, before you REALLY fucking piss me off".
We did exactly that whilst he and one of the other teachers settled laughing into the rest of our pitcher. Bastards.

FF 4 or 5 years years and I'm out on the piss in the local town on a weekend back from Uni when again i get a nudge and turn to see Mr W. He slaps me on the shoulder, winks and says,

"i never did get my round in in France, did i? Nor did i get you one for getting an A in maths, what you having?"

Bought me two pints, shook my hand and said well done. Good bloke.
(, Fri 18 Mar 2011, 12:57, 1 reply)
Doing History and Politics A Level
I went to a "bog Standard' Comprehensive". In fact, it was made a failing school the year I left, so it was much worse than bog-standard.

It was financially inefficient to teach some A level subjects and the school had to stop offering them. Despite this, the History Department (three middle aged ladies), insisted on carrying on teaching the courses for the 4-5 people per Year who wanted to take them. I did both History and Politics, so I saw them a lot.

Mrs C was the Head of Department and taught both History and Politics. She was an old Communist whose husband was banned from entering America due to his political activities in the Sixties. Her lessons were less like rote learning, and much more like political debate. She'd happily pick apart our arguments and let the lessons run over into break times so we wouldn't cut conversations short. Despite her dogmatic belief in the inevitability of Proletarian revolution, she never browbeat any of us, and would always treat us with patience and respect. When we finished A-levels, she took us round her house for a nice meal and her husband and her got us quite comprehensively drunk on the finest vodka he'd brought back from his travels.

Mrs N was the main teacher for Politics. She had done some fairly serious post-grad study, and God knows why she was happy to spend her career dealing with snotty teenagers like us. She was equally passionate as Mrs C about tutoring us in the ways of righteousness (i.e., being a Leftie). Again, though, she did this through long conversations and patience, rather than telling us we were wrong. She'd quiz us on current events. Challenge us on what we'd do if we were an MP. Always make us justify our opinions rather than just accepting what we were told. The school didn't have any up to date Politics text books, so she bought them, and gave us to them to take home so we'd read them properly (I still have a few).

Mrs S was the second History teacher. She had a high opinion of her subject and taught us as if we were University students rather than Sixth Formers. When we were interested in a subject, she'd encourage us to go off and read more. On bits of the syllabus we didn't like, she'd teach us what we needed to do well in the exam, then let us spend more time on other things. It was exhilarating for kids used to being sat in a room with 30 other kids, so we didn't take advantage - we studied lots.

In a school in one of the poorest Education Authorities in Britain, which was (as I said before) declared a failing school by OFSTED, the History and Politics A Level students used to get A grade after A grade, year after year. There were kids who'd chosen the subjects not really giving a shit about them, and ended up studying hard and going on to read them at University. They were fantastic individuals with a genuine passion for their subjects and their charges, and they did it all in difficult circumstances. I always remember them when people moan about how how terrible Comprehensive Schools are...
(, Thu 17 Mar 2011, 15:49, 3 replies)
There are two teachers that spring to mind for me
First off was my 5th Year English teacher. Not only could she recite an entire 40 minute story from start to finish as if reading it from a book, or slightly change one of my essays to get a pass mark, but she also had a rather inquisitive mind into what constitutes for "slang" nowadays. (Not that she was particularly old or "out of it", mind you.)

The incident to which I refer, was mid way through a typical class, at which she stopped us and said;

"Actually, I just remembered something, do any of you know what a "Strawberry Cheesecake" is?"

A few boys burst out laughing, others tried their very best not to make direct eye-contact whilst biting our lips and chuckling, and some of the girls just looked perplexed.

"I'm just asking because another teacher was saying in the staffroom that they had overheard some 3rd years saying that a boy had given a girl a strawberry cheesecake, but none of us knew what it was." (For reference to the folks down-south, a 3rd year is 14-15 years old)

One of the more confident boys in the class piped up;

"Well, I don't think you really want to know what it is miss.."

"Oh no...It's not like a "hot lunch", is it?" She replied.

A few more facial expressions turned to perplexed.

"What's that?", the same boy asked.

"Oh, I couldn't possibly say, I could loose my job if I told you."

"Well, how about a deal then? We'll tell you what a strawberry cheesecake is, if you tell us what a hot lunch is."

She pondered on this for a short time, before agreeing to the deal. And then came an explanation, the likes of which I doubt I will ever hear from a person in an educational position again.

Her explanation came in the form of a story about one of her friends, who, in the late 80s or early 90s, had been at a party somewhere, and had hooked up with an actress, who at the time was in Coronation Street. (Though I can't for the life of me remember who)

So, needless to say, things were done, and the subsequent morning, her friend was asked by the actress if he "Would like a hot lunch?" He assumed this meant elevenses, and, like any gentleman would, took up the offer with a smile. At which point, she climbed on top of him and took a shit on his chest.

This story was met with howls of laughter from the class, and a general sense of disbelief, but a deal was a deal.

"Ok, well basically, a Strawberry Cheesecake is when a guy cums on a girl's face, then punches her in the nose, so that blood comes out and it mixes like a strawberry cheesecake"

Our teacher raised one eyebrow and screwed up her face a bit.

"Ugh.. My story was better"

That it was.


Secondly, (A shorter tale you will be glad to hear) was one of my computing teachers.

This story is more about one of my friends involved, but it still made me chuckle at the time.

Our teacher was attempting to teach us about RAM, specifically, how it looses all it's data when the power is cut. (Which I shall assume you all know a little about)

He gave us an example:

"So, say I was playing a game, (What's the last game I played... Half life 2) Say I was playing Half Life 2, and I was on the last level, and I had a powercut. What would happen?"

To which my friend raised his hand and said:

"Well, you'd have to go back into the citadel, get the gravity gun, use the elevators to get to the office..."

Put a smile on my face :)
(, Sat 19 Mar 2011, 23:35, 2 replies)
At university, my Poetry lecturer detested first-year students.
On a dreary October morning, 150 of us are sitting clustered in an auditorium, clutching pencils and chatting nervously. At precisely 10am, the door is flung open and a tall man strides in, a cross between Victor Meldrew and the Star Wars Emperor, clad in a beret and red scarf.

He doesn't even bother to take off the scarf, but leans against the desk, looking at his shoes. With a reluctant breath, he raises his head, sweeps his gaze from one side of the room to the other, and sighs.

"What's a poem?" he asks in a sharp, acidic voice.

One girl puts her hand up. There's always one. "It's something that rhymes", she says, probably beaming smugly. I don't know, she was sitting at the front, I didn't see her expression. But I saw the professor's, and wish I hadn't. He raised his hand languidly and pinched the bridge of his nose, then stood up straight and walked to the white board.

"In three weeks you will submit a paper, 3000 words, answering my question", he barked to the room as he stamped four clear letters on the board. He turned to face us, staring.

Someone called out. "How are we supposed to do that?"

"Ah! A neuron fires!" he retorted with vitriolic delight. He raised his chin nobly, swept his arm to the board, and pointed at the four letters: FOFO.

"Fuck Off and Find Out", he declared, and stormed from the room.
(, Fri 18 Mar 2011, 16:13, 10 replies)
I prefer a single malt myself

(, Fri 18 Mar 2011, 15:28, 3 replies)
The secret lives of disciplinarians
My school had a system (probably not that uncommon) whereby the headmaster was responsible for the overall running of the school, and the deputy headmaster was in charge of discipline. It was the deputy head who called us to attention before morning assembly, and it was to his office that you'd get sent if you'd been naughty. He was a very tall man, lean and muscular-looking. He dressed in dark, sober colours and neither spoke nor smiled very often. Everything about him exuded quiet menace, and he inspired a decent amount of fear in most of the younger classes.

When I was fourteen or so I was told that the Religious Studies lesson that day was to be replaced by a special assembly, led by the deputy headmaster. The entire year had been pulled out of lessons to hear the man speak so there were about a hundred of us in the hall. Pretty much all of us were wondering exactly what was so special that regular programming had been interrupted, and rumours began to hum that we were in for a massive collective bollocking.

The deputy head strode onto the stage with his black gown and his chilly brown eyes, and began to speak about...his son. His son, who had just been born very premature and in a very bad way, and who had passed away while still in the maternity ward. He spoke for about half an hour and went into a lot of detail about exactly which health problems caused his son's death. He showed us photos, blown up to giant-size on the overhead projector. He told us how he was coping with the whole experience, and how his wife was coping.

We were all utterly stunned. For most of us, teachers didn't really exist outside the classroom and probably went into some sort of stasis when school closed for the day. For the deputy headmaster, this man who ruled the school with a never-seen-but-strongly-hinted-at rod of iron, to stand up and speak about something so astonishingly intimate to a hundred fourteen-year-old schoolboys was as great a jolt to our perception as any of us could have imagined. I think if he had admitted to us that he was going to become a woman and leave the school to work as a circus acrobat, we would have been less surprised.

Mr. Humphries, if you're out there reading this somewhere, you are a very courageous man.
(, Fri 18 Mar 2011, 10:25, 2 replies)
my counting teacher was the awesomest!!
(, Thu 24 Mar 2011, 0:59, 14 replies)
My A Level Chemistry teacher
His appearance was that of the archetypal mad scientist: dishevelled white hair, twisted teeth, and a chemical-stained and burnt lab coat that lent him a faint perfume of burning. This is the man that, in our last lesson, allowed us to make rudimentary "rockets" and fire them out of the windows (with little success, although his own effort narrowly missed a passing skiver). He commanded the room, and everyone hung on his every word, probably because we were now allowed to do Real Science (read: wear a lab coat) and were made privy to the stories of the sciencey hijinks of a chemistry graduate. Here is my favourite.

Granted I can find no proof, but believe it to be true. It would have been 20-25 years ago at least. I was only told the barest of details, perhaps to prevent replication of the incident, so this is embellished somewhat...
Our Hero, upon receiving a less-than-wonderful grade in a particular module, half-inched a sizeable quantity of Caesium from one of the Cardiff University labs for his own nefarious purposes.

A note for those unacquainted with alkali metals: you may recall from your science lessons that Potassium, a highly reactive metal, is stored in oil to stop it immediately oxidising. In water, potassium is seen to perform the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy across the surface, dressed in a rather lovely lilac flame. Now imagine potassium has a premenstrual older sister. She is over reactive and unreasonable, and if disturbed from oily slumber is likely to spontaneously combust. Her behaviour in water is less aqua-aerobics, more suicide bomber. Let's call her "Caesium".

It was decided that if the budding prankster could contain his enthusiasm until after graduation, should he be caught during his caesium based antics his degree would remain intact as he would no longer be a student of Cardiff Uni. Therefore, the Caesium lay in wait until graduation day - the details become hazy here.

I'm not exactly sure of the mechanics involved in safely transporting a kilogram (!) of said Caesium from its oil-filled prison to Roath Park Lake, but the journey was made. Our hero legs it. It seems he is lost in the fray of others also fleeing the carnage, as he gets away scot-free. He explained, midst reminiscent giggles of pride and guilt, that his actions seemed to unlock a portal to the underworld, as (I am reliably informed, and inclined to believe) all hell broke loose. No-one was harmed, and apparently investigation into the disturbance was not exhaustive as he heard nothing more of it, although a friend's repeat performance was prevented the following year by more sophisticated lab security.

Everyone in our class went on to study a science at university.
Apologies for length but be gentle with me, long time lurker, first post!
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 18:32, 14 replies)
My uncle's advice to chemistry teachers
My uncle is a biochemist and has very strong opinions about chemistry education. He says to his teaching students: if you are teaching chemistry and your kids aren't stealing magnesium and sulphuric acid from your supply cupboards, you're not doing your job properly.
(, Fri 18 Mar 2011, 10:41, 6 replies)
We had a teacher with a hearing aid.
We used to hum in class. He'd tap his hearing aid, and we'd stop for 30 seconds.
(, Thu 17 Mar 2011, 15:19, 3 replies)
Mad Harry

My schooldays are so long ago that I can't actually remember his real name, but I can see his wildly grinning face as if was only yesterday.

Mad Harry was the metalwork teacher. The man in charge of all sorts of amusing ways to kill or maim yourself including bench drills, lathes, high-speed buffing machines and all sorts of assorted files, chisels, punches, hammers - you name it, he had it.

Annoying Mad Harry wasn't a good idea. For minor infractions he'd put one of your hands in a vice and leave your there for the whole lesson. You'd be pinned, standing up, to bench for an hour and a half. More serious offenders would have two hands in a vice so you were straddled across two benches, impeding a walkway. And Harry would encourage students to give you a quick slap as they ducked underneath your arms.

Mad Harry was also a hurler. That is, he used to throw anything within his reach at an inattentive or whispering school kid. Again, hammers, files, random bars of metal - they were all thrown with terrifying violence and amazing skill. He never actually hit anyone - but he did part the hairs on peoples heads on a regular basis.

He was also, genuinely, paranoid. He had fixated on the IRA and was convinced they were out to kill him. So much so that he had a mirror-on-a-stick (it was a telescopic stick) that he used to check under his car for bombs. Every. Single. Day.

But my favourite memory of him was the one day he was late for school. He arrived at around 9.30, hammering his car through the school gates. Engine revving and screaming at about 6000 rpm, him travelling at about 10 miles an hour, when some six former yelled:


Harry did change gear and tried to run the six former down.

Fucking Hell Harry - I miss you....

Postscript: When Harry died in the late 90's, over 1000 former pupils turned out. Most of us were stuck outside the Church, smoking fags, swapping stories... The wake was fucking EPIC....

(, Thu 17 Mar 2011, 11:56, 3 replies)
Awww Mr Wilkes! :(
I love this man, he was a substitute teacher employed by the school, he was the lead in a Jazz band and had led a really interesting life. We used to pray a teacher was ill so Mr Wilkes would stand in, no matter what the subject you could say "Mr Wilkes, tell us a story" and he would spend the whole lesson regaling tales of his youth and the mischief he got up to. He'd sometimes bring along his banjo and play songs for us too.
I can remember one science lesson he was talking about how he and his mates had made a paper airplane that he claimed flew the same distance as our schools astroturf pitch, we were all like "aww no way Mr Wilkes, this is a tale too far that's just not possible" the next thing we knew we were all up on the astroturf making paper airplanes and bugger me, he only went and made one that went the distance. We all thought we'd managed to get out of learning that day but when we got back in the classroom he began to teach about aerodynamics and the science behind airplanes using his little paper plane.

He also ran the schools drama club and made sure that absolutely anyone who wanted a line in his show got one, he never picked the people who got all the main parts and went for the underdogs to give them a chance. He wrote all his own plays and music and set up a jazz band where he played trumpet, piano and banjo.

He brought so much joy to learning and being at school and he is and always will be my most favourite teacher ever. Sadley Mr Wilkes passed away in 2006 - I never got the chance to tell him how awesome and inspirational he was. I learned more from him about being a decent human being than anyone else.
(, Thu 17 Mar 2011, 11:45, 1 reply)
The post below this reminded me of this
We had a French, French teacher student teaching in our school for a while. I'm sure she used to wonder why we needed so much paper in our class.

"Please Miss, can I have another shit of paper"
"Miss, can I take a shit as well?"
"Miss, I need a shit really bad"
"Miss, can I take a shit on your desk?"

Each reply was 'Yes, yes of course!"
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 23:28, 4 replies)
Back in the 60s and 70s
...there were no boring teachers. Some were bastards, some nutters, some geniuses.

Mr Singleton in primary school had lost an eye in a Lancaster, and would quell the class by threatening to lift the patch.

Father O'Reilly, who was open about his lack of vocation and who could play Black Dog only when pissed.

Sister Assumpta who had balls of steel. It was quite the thing at one point to leave porn on teachers desks; she didn't run out of the room but put it up on the OHP and invited the class to get them out and tug. No takers.

The Head, who caught me and a mate making homebrew in the darkroom. When it was ready, he locked it away and every Friday we went to his office where we would be permitted a bottle each: "Boys, alcohol is a divine gift, and moderation is the thanksgiving for it". He once suspended 2 sixth-years for shagging at a dance. The guy who was underneath got a week, the one on top 2 weeks. "Gentlemen, the ground was damp, and the young lady could have caught her death. If I haven't taught you morals, I will teach you manners."

And the nameless priest who came to give us a chat about alcoholism and told us that he knew he had a problem when he called the Archbishop of Valencia a "Franco-worshipping cocksucker" in front of the aforesaid Spanish general and mass-murderer. Standing ovation, in which the staff joined.
(, Fri 18 Mar 2011, 0:26, 4 replies)
A career's advisor
In 6th form we had a career's advisor called Peter Niskin, or as it was written on the leaflet:

P Niskin

We cried with laughter for 2 years over that one.

Nice enough guy, but best. name. ever.

Perhaps his career's advisor should have told him not to go into a field whereby you predominantly meet a lot of idiot teenagers with a name like that though.
(, Thu 17 Mar 2011, 12:39, 5 replies)
My chemistry teacher, looking back, was a pretty awesome guy. He was one of those teachers that, when you're there, you think is a bit soft but basically ok, but don't realise til later that you'd probably like to have a pint with him if you ever meet him again.

Bungle was that man. Gaining his nickname from his beard (which was just an ordinary beard, really) and penchant for pink shirts, he did all the awesome chemistry teacher things, blowing up a bag of helium and scaring the shite out of us and the like, but the man had an amazing capacity to take shit off pupils and not lose his temper. He wasn't soft, he'd deal with trouble, but he'd never go off his head. My class were pretty tame, but my best mate's class weren't and they had him for registration. His tolerance for the shit they threw his way is still something I marvelled at, as another science teacher was driven almost mental by the same class and needed time off.

They once gummed up the lock on his room by jamming jelly sweets into it. When he saw it, he just sighed and whipped out a pair of tweezers from his pocket, and was visibly chortling at all the "What did you have them for in the bathroom?" comments. The next time they went further and the tweezers wouldn't work, so he scaled the wall outside and climbed in the window, briefly turning him into "spider-bungle". The best one, though, was when he mentioned he had a daughter. "You've got a daughter, sir?" someone shouted. "Yeth, I have" he said (oh, he had a lisp as well which caused no end of inane juvenile taunting). "Oooooooooh!" shouted the heckler, "you've had sex! Oh! Bungles had sex! Bungle's had sex!" The whole class started chanting as his face reddened and he creased up with laughter. Most teachers would have went mental, but he just had a laugh, said "alright, settle down" and got on with it.

Wish we'd appreciated it at the time, some of our teachers were shits!
(, Wed 23 Mar 2011, 15:06, 7 replies)
Mrs Emmerson
... had a great sense of justice.

Thomas was an annoying little scrote, not just to teachers but to pupils also. He would have been the class clown except he wasn't funny, just a distraction. Terry was a mild mannered lad who Thomas would try unsuccessfully to goad into a reaction.

One rainy morning the school doors were opened to let us wait in our classrooms for registration. Thomas was on his usual form but made the mistake of trying to get Terry to fight, assuming he wouldn't react as usual. Thomas took a step too far in trying to administer a playful slap. Terry picked Thomas up and threw him head first into a desk halfway across the room. (Thomas was probably too thick to either notice or comprehend that at the age we were beginning to sprout a few lonely pubes, Terry had the full set of armpit carpets, muscles -and presumably everything else- of an early developed young man)
With a small cut in his eyebrow Thomas tried to make the scene as dramatic as possible by spreading drips of blood as far as possible.

Mrs Emmerson came in, told Thomas to get some paper towels and clean up his mess, then looking at Terry asked "Did you dae that?" (yes, she was glaswegian)
"Yes Miss"
"Well done son, that wee eejit had it comin'"
(, Wed 23 Mar 2011, 13:31, 14 replies)
I had an awesome maths teacher
but the awesome things about him were seldom to do with his mathematical teachings or even his teaching skills.

He was quite a character, ebullient while under the effects of alcohol but a dour and joyless man come the inevitable hangover. So, classes could be eventful, and predictable, given the morning is dedicated to alcoholics' mourning, and the afternoon heralds the evening that it precedes.

At either time, though, he did not like distractions, which was strange, given that he himself was quite a distraction. One moment you could be just getting to grips with a complicated long-division calculation, and the next you would be on the floor, having fallen off your chair laughing at the teacher with a bin on his head (checking for chewing gum stuck to the lip of the bin), gushing blood from a cut on his forehead (walked into an open door, you had to be there to be able to laugh at the blood and obvious pain, but I assure you it was funny), eating a 4ft striplight bulb (I shit you not!), or howling loudly and protractedly at someone in the class for their having made a small error.

He got us through maths and for that I thank him, but I have never met a more eccentric teacher, and he brings a smile to my face whenever I remember him.

Perhaps a good example of his level on the awesomeness scale was the time he took us on a school ski trip. Organisation was his forte, but organising kids was not, and he stressed and strained to get 70 excited children from England to France together and in one piece. When we got there, though, he visibly relaxed (if that is really a good description). A few drinks in and he was roaring in the dinner hall, and the last I saw, as some of the hotel staff led us away to our rooms, was him dancing on a table in a kilt, kicking leftover food, crockery and cutlery across the room. Apparently he passed out on a table not much later, could not be roused, and thus spent the night in the dining room, dribbling onto the tablecloth.

The next morning he defied our expectations and led us, albeit slightly wobbly, to the mountain, still wearing the kilt. When we got to the top of the cable car, he climbed onto the railing, and swan dived into a large pile of snow, all 15 foot from apex of trajectory to first impact with the white stuff. Amazingly, he leapt out of the snow (apparently uninjured) howling "SNOWWWWW!!!" strapped on his skis and skied off into the distance, leaving 70 kids on a mountain with no one in charge. Awesome.

He didn't reappear until the next night - it looked as if he might have spent the night out as he was muddy, wet and shivering - respect to a man with such a clear and unambiguous reaction to responsibility. He even bought me (among others) a bottle of lager to drink at the disco that evening - despite teaching maths he had forgotten what age we were, although I suppose "when in France..."

All of this did no good to his reputation as a teacher. The children passed their exams, as long as they didn't die first (relaaaxxxx, no one died...), but his viability as a "loco parentis" figure crashed and burned. Last time I heard he was still teaching maths, and still plucking spiders from the spiderwebs in his classroom and eating them in front of giggling schoolchildren, but I don't think they ever put him in charge of anything more than manning the score box on the cricket pitch. A job he did admirably, with a jug of pimms and a loudhailer! A legend in his own right.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 22:06, Reply)
Our Physics teacher
was the usual physics teacher stereotype. She was old, mean, dejected, monotone and deadpan.

However there was one quirk of always using her husband as an imaginative tool in her examples. She would be reciting equations and numbers for a few hours then suddenly throw in this curve ball of an example.

For instance, one I remember (most of the actual physics has long gone) was her describing terminal velocity.

"If I dragged my bastard husband to the top of the empire states building and hurled him off, it would take him X seconds to reach terminal velocity. With X being Y and yadda yadda he would go splat on the ground after 15 seconds."

Or there was the discussion of how long you could survive in a vaccum.

"If I threw my bastard husband out of the international space station, if some bugger let him in within two minutes then there is a good chance he'd survive. If I let him in just in the nick of time then he would have suffered irreversible brain damage - but I'd still have to look after him. So for best results - two minutes or more should do the trick."

She was a mean bitch who kept giving me detentions for nothing, but how could I not love someone as jaded as Mrs Baxter of Form 2C. You're probably dead but gawd bless her.
(, Sun 20 Mar 2011, 11:00, Reply)
My best teecher
was defanatly my Inglish teecher. His name wass Mr Eddwards and he tought me evrything I no about the Inglish langwij.
(, Sat 19 Mar 2011, 21:20, 3 replies)
Awesome teachers
The euphoria of my having done well in the eleven plus in the late 1950s very quickly turned to despair after the first term at the very posh girls’ school to which I was ‘privileged’ to win a scholarship. It was a dreadful place.

The one saving grace was the music teacher, who was inspiring, kind and very entertaining. One thing she did was allow us to bring in our pop records (45rpm vinyl singles in those days) to the musical appreciation lessons, so that the likes of the Beatles and Manfred Mann were given as much respect as Mozart and Beethoven. This sort of thing was frowned on by several parents, but she said good music was good music wherever it came from. This has stayed with me to the extent that I can appreciate a lovely tune regardless of the source. We felt she was on our side, especially after she hinted that she didn't like the head mistress - a Thatcher-like hag who was hated by all pupils and parents. She - the music teacher - was also the best choir mistress I've ever known and there are many happy memories of choir concerts (we were well known locally and much in demand). If it hadn’t been for her I’m not sure I’d have survived my teens.

Having assumed all my former teachers were long dead I was flabbergasted to discover she was still alive, so I got in touch and last week we met. Apart from her hair now being white, she’s hardly changed in 46 years. We had a lovely nostalgic chat and a good laugh.

Thank you Miss W for saving my life…..
(, Fri 18 Mar 2011, 10:28, 5 replies)

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