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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)
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Well, I got a 'B'...
The school I attended was strange in that it allowed one to take German at GCSE.
Our teacher for this, Mr Peel, was an amiable gent, with kids our age, and was generally well liked. His teaching methods differed from the other German teachers, and our French teachers, somewhat.
Other teachers would have us learning endless "ich bin, du bist, er ist, ..." -- not Mr Peel! He'd teach us that kind of thing, of course, but classes often involved reading Stern or Das Spiegel and, as lads will, some snigering over the German tendency to advertise everything using topless women.
On one particularly memorable occasion a few of us borrowed a film to watch in lunch hour -- it was an American film dubbed into German. The film was broadcast on a German satellite channel, to which the school had a subscription, and was lsted as "Neun Und Ein Halv Woken". I think the only thing I recall from it is "Ja! Ja! Oh Got, oh Got! Ja!" -- which isn't much help outside of specific circumstances.

(apologies for incorrect German above, if any, but I'm trying to learn another language and don't want to mess my head up checking my German)
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 20:55, 3 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)
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)
Year 7 geography
In year 7 my geography teacher was a pretty cool guy, I was shite at geography but I was well behaved and tried, so he helped me do the best I could, which wasn't very well. He looked like Theo Phathetus (sp? Him of dragons den who looks like a mole) and had a gentle manner to him.

One day in the middle of the year he announces that it's his last week, he has a new job and will be moving on. One lad, who was desperate to fit in with the naughty crowd cheered and threw his arms in the air. Geography teacher teacher turns to him and says "I'm pretty happy I won't have to see you any more either, so up yours." then he blew a raspberry and the boy in question turned red and tried to sink into his chair while the rest of us pointed and laughed.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 17:56, Reply)
The definition of Catharsis...
My old English teacher was a great chap, and used to get very very excited about various things. In mid flow this was one that always stuck in my mind:

"Does anyone know what Catharsis means? - You know that sort silent feeling of pleasure. No? - Well, (Scratches head) it's sort of, it's that feeling you get after having a good shit."

Job done really, never really forgotten what it means... and I think knowing this has been a lot more useful than knowing how to calculate the missing angle on a triangle!
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 17:17, Reply)
Sexy english teachers making Shakespear, Chaucer and Milton bearable since 1987
Quite frankly you don't know the meaning of sexual frustration unless you went through puberty while attending an all-boys school.

My formative years were unfortunately spent primarily in such an institution, so thanks heavens for the collection of milfs that ran our English department.

Great looking, but also played to the crowd by wearing low cut tops and stockings. Looking back, it does seem a little odd that they would wear such attire in the presence of a gaggle of horny school boys, but at the time it certainly helped ease us through Wuthering Heights and King Lear.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 16:37, 2 replies)
He ate boiled eggs for Breakfast
And had the thickest kerry accent you ever did hear. A man so confident in his popularity he wore cycling spankex shorts on his daily cycle into school. Mr. Willy Guerin was one of those teachers. A brilliant teacher, brutally honest and beloved by peoples. He organised the school cycling trips and didn't mind the odd cheeky galavant by pupils.

The one memory that sticks is were a friend and I had snuck back into the school at lunch (a no no) to retrieve books from our lockers. Heading for the nearest exit
we turned a corner (my friend slightly ahead), only for me to hear a thick kerry accent say "What the fuck are U doin inside?!"

My Friends survival instincts kicked in as he sped back past me for the door at the opposite end of the corridor. This also triggered an animal kerry instinct in Guerin who gave chase. In panic my Friend struggled trying to push a pull door. As common sense prevailed and my friend opened the door Guerins foot connected with his hole propelling him out the door.

What a man.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 16:17, 2 replies)
year 7 geography
I won't mention his name here... but rest assured, he was awesome.
the first lesson I had with him went as follows:
-forced everyone to line up in complete silence
-put everyone in a seating plan
-pulled out a meter stick and began idly thwacking it against his free hand whilst looking menacing...
-discarded it, grinned and loaded up a powerpoint. it only got better from there.

so, stuff I still remember from his lessons, based on how purely awesome they were:
from maps from memory: the middle band of US states (north dakota, south dakota, nebraska, kansas, oklahoma and texas) and the location of delaware, the one nobody could remember. the rather awesome incident in an early lesson where the state in question was indiana, nobody knew it so he gave us a hint... 'hat and a whip.' what did someone immediately shout? santa. he proceeded to very slowly stand up, walk over to the cubboard at the back of the room, get out a santa hat and put it on. 'do I bloody look like the kind of person that would use a whip?'

(in stark contrast to this, year 8 geography. teacher from hell. he was as old as time itself and once gave someone a detention for scratching their nose. I had the same guy for ICT in year 9, wherein I managed to outsmart him. I'm still somewhat smug about this)

so yeah.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 15:11, 4 replies)
crippling undiagnosed dyslexia
not really,

but in primary 6 a teacher called Mrs Dundee recognised the difficulties I was having and took the extra time to teach me things in a slightly different way, and for that I am eternally grateful to her.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 15:01, Reply)
Me and my friends often reminisce about our old form tutor Mr Turtle and what he did:
Taught us.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 14:51, 13 replies)
Just Remembered...

the little short-arsed English teacher who threw me out of English Lit (As in banned, do not attend class, do not sit GSE) for reading Noddy In Toyland rather than Chaucer's Prologue To The Canterbury Tales, did actually manage to teach me something.

We had an exercise where we had to look at a series of photographs and the write about what we'd seen. As I recall, it was a French beach scene.

One sentence of mine ran..

"Men with bulging muscles looked down from a balcony..."

He changed it to:

"Men with muscles looked down from a balcony"

"Don't over-egg the pudding laddie.."

You know what? He was right.


Edit: Seeing that, no matter what I post, I get my own horde of special little followers from /talk a-hooting and a gibbering in the replies, I thought I'd be kind to them and give them something to do while breathlessly awaiting the next witless reply from one of their brethren.


They you go lads - get licking.....

(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 13:48, 8 replies)
Mr. Denis P Brophy
In 1984, when I was in the 6th form, he was my house master, form master, physics teacher, computer studies teacher, PE teacher (occasionally) and tutor. He also ran the computer and electronics clubs.

And basically he gave me an awful lot of support and encouragement, mostly without me realising it at the time. Thanks.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 13:46, Reply)
It came to light that his wife had left Mr Bennet on Christmas eve.
Thus "Merry Christmas, Mr Bennet!" became the call whenever one saw him across the yard.

Not so much awesome teaching as awesome pupilage, perhaps.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 13:30, 4 replies)
Mr Mooney
In our sixth form we had a rather eccentric teacher, Mr Mooney. A short, stout man with round glasses and thickish white hair, Mr Mooney taught Law and Politics if I recall. I did not take either of those subjects, so it could have been one or the other.

Anyways, Mr Mooney was a regular feature in our Sixth form and could be seen day in, day out, doing his teachering thing.

That is until the night a Panorama special was aired on BBC1 talking about spies and Nuclear secrets. Turns out Mr Mooney was big in to his international spying shit and was exposed, mugshot and all, as a stealer of information pertinent to the design, construction and operation of Nuclear Submarines.

Mr Mooney didn't turn up at School the next day. Or the next. Or at all after that. He went Kaiser Soze on our asses. In our yearbook, Mr Mooney's form are all arranged for their photo with a space in the middle with the caption: 'but Mr Mooney, where are you?'

I've no idea how good he was.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 13:09, 17 replies)
Mr Stephens (Pappa Smurf)
He was a great High School science teacher. For a start he was a short guy with a big full beard so he was dubbed "Pappa Smurf". He'd draw wonderfully elaborate illustrated colourful chalk boards, for example a set of powerlines with a careless bird stepping onto two wires and being electrocuted. But his coolest attribute was his temper, from zero to frothing rage in a nanosecond... then just as quickly back again like nothing had happened. If someone was disrupting the class or being dangerous, he'd rage at them and eject them from the class, then carry on exactly where he left off.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 12:43, 3 replies)
Good old loony chemistry teacher
Although he was probably only in his late 30's at the time, to a 15yr old, thats almost dead. Anyway... apart from some very sage advice (http://b3ta.com/questions/ignoringinstructions/post54110), he also managed to inspire one hell of a curiosity in anyone who bothered to listen to him.

The most memorable of which was the very first lesson of my last year of secondary school. Cue Mr. M holding two test tubes, both half full of clear liquid. Pour both into a beaker and hey presto! it now looks like someone's mashed a couple of bags of skittles in their food and then put a stool sample in there.

He then says "thats nothing" and proceeds to pour a load of hydrochloric acid into the beaker, upon which, the skittle poo disappears and the liquid returns to being clear again.

"If you want to know how that works - Pick A-Level chemistry for when you leave"

Needless to say I did.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 12:26, 1 reply)
Oh we had some bizarre teachers.
None of them quite as clearly mentally unbalanced and/or good fun as many of the stories already posted - the usual run of slightly unhinged science teachers, hot French teachers who were really German, and a CDT teacher who built his own car on the sly with schools materials.

The only one who sticks out is Mr Slack. Mr Slack had story after story, and a Geology lesson could easily be taken down by setting him off on a discussion about the local area in the Second World War or the history of the Kimbolton railway.

Mr Slack had MS, and at some point had procured an amazingly fast electric wheelchair. One day, a disruptive child had hidden from his then-housemaster in maths, safe - or so he thought - two floors up at the top of F-block, with no lift.

Not so. This wheelchair climbed stairs. The look of horror and surprise on the lad's face was apparently sufficient for Slack never to have to actually wheel up the stairs ever again.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 12:24, 5 replies)
Some of the finest teachers aren't in schools
My old Scout leader, for example. For thirty-odd years, he was a Scout leader, taking kids camping, hiking, cycling, and much more, and difference this man must have made to kids lives is almost incalculable.

I joined Scouts when I was about 13 (~~wavy lines~~), and became totally immersed in it. Previously, I had been a bedroom-haunting shy nerd, more into Fighting Fantasy books, heavy metal and computer games. But gradually I learned how to read maps, do First-Aid, put up a tent, light a fire, cook on a fire, look after my bike, and all those Scouty things. I got a chance to try kayaking, archery, mountain biking, abseiling, orienteering, and more. We built bridges from pioneering poles and rope, we did backwoods cooking (the old banana and chocolate), we hiked up several Munroes, we camped in some of the most beautiful natural scenes in the north of Scotland, we made a sauna out of a brazier, pioneering poles and tarpaulin, and we won just about every competition we took part in. Twenty years later, I'm still in touch with a substantial number of the friends I made there. And most importantly, I learned how to work in a team, how to stand up and take responsibilty, and to have a laugh while working hard.

This Scout leader of mine, who I'll leave nameless, spent countless hours of his life planning and arranging camps, hikes, training events, competitions and your regular weekly meetings. He was a man of great humour, daftness, knowledge and skill, and is one of the finest people I've had the pleasure to meet. The best teacher I ever had by a fucking country mile.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 12:12, 5 replies)
I wanted some new lunch benches, but would settle with something relatively similar.
"What are you on about?" came the response.

"I want some lunch benches," I said, "Or some tea chairs."
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 12:08, 10 replies)
It's all in the detail
Funny really as most of the replies this week have been about teachers that have done everything they could to help, yet my most awesome teacher was rather strict on me.

Bit of a backstory, at the time I was your average secondary school student, pretty average grades, well liked and a regular on the sports team. I am not trying to sound like a boasting git but due to my popularity a few of the other teachers were a little easy on me and would let me off with the odd misdemenor such as late for lesson or missed homework, apart from my chemistry teacher.

From some other tales on this week I get the impression that chemistry teachers are usually nutcases that spend most of their time trying to blow things up, our school must have got the only bloke who took more pleasure in checking that our solutions contained the right mix of chemicals and that we pay complete attention to the notes and what we were doing, back then I hated it abd felt he was one of those teachers that hated kids.

In hindsight I realise that he was probably the best teacher I ever had, his eye to detail was better than any textbook and I excelled in the subject the year he left I also realise I could not have got where I am today without his help(Top government job dealing in an area I know he would have admired).

I have made my feelings towards him known before a few times but sod it I am eternally grateful for the teachings of Severus Snape, after all I would have probably died in one of the earlier books if it wasn’t for him.Lots of Love Harry.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 11:40, 2 replies)
I also had one of the teachers frequently occurring here this week: batshit mental and therefore lots of fun. He was known as "Mad Mac", since his name was McNeff. The trick in his lessons was to set him off on one of his insane, absurdist stories, which could easily last the entire 40 minutes, and would mean no work and no homework either!

I remember one story, because it was told to me after I'd correctly answered a difficult question. Apparently I was going to receive a cream horn (careful now) which would be personally delivered to me by elephant, which would fly by hot air balloon from darkest Bolivia, and... well, you get the idea.

One term he simply disappeared. I think we all understood that "taking early retirement" was a euphemism for "politely asked to leave before his dribbling insanity required the use of a straight-jacket", and we were sad but not at all surprised to see the end of Mad Mac.

So, as I say, standard fare for this week's replies. But, recently I was trying to research my old school (which has long-since been bulldozered) and I came across an "old boys" site. To my amazement, Mr McNeff used to be headmaster, some time before I was there. And, apparently, he was a much-loved head, popular with both the boys and the staff -- our school's Dumbledore, in fact.

I'm still boggling to this day.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 11:11, Reply)
You may like to proofread this
Mr Fisher

I was always quite good at spelling. At primary school, Becky and I were the ones that the teacher would send kids to when they couldn't spell a word, and as such I gained noteriety for being clever and, well - able to spell.

This continued through Prep School, and thus when I started at the main school my confidence came with me.

We were assigned a form tutor in the shape of Mr Fisher - a silver-haired, sharply intelligent, wiry man, with a quick wit, firm control, and a comparatively kindly manner.

Since we were now 13, and in the main school, we fancied ourselves as growing up - voices were starting to wobble - some had even dropped - hair was starting to spout in unsual places, and we were all very interested in girls and definitely not boys because that would be gay.

Our first lesson with Mr Fisher was in a dusty old room full of books, and he introduced himself to us saying he was going to check our level of competence with a quick spelling test.

Volunteers for the first test?

My hand shot up with enthusiasm.

"You, boy" said Mr Fisher, "What is your name?"

"A Vagabond, Sir" I replied politely.

"Up to the blackboard, lad" he instructed.

"Got this in the bag" I said smugly, to his calm gaze.

My word was that position which follows eleventh.

After five tries, he instructed me to return to my seat.

"Your enthusiasm is admirable, your arrogance is not" he said, "Never, ever lose your enthusiasm. I hope you have learned something today."

Indeed. I've learned to spell twelfth.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 10:48, 6 replies)
Awesome in a different way
I remember my chemistry teacher, because of one feature: everything about him was BROWN. He had brown hair, brown eyes, brown-tinted glasses, wore a brown suit with a light brown shirt, brown tie and brown shoes over brown socks. Every single day, he was a symphony in brown. He even had a brown car.

And naturally, because the universe has a sense of humour, his name was Mr Jones.

For some reason, that always amused me.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 10:14, 2 replies)
mr joyce
spent a whole lesson teaching us why we should vote which wasnt ppart of the lesson, plus also used to get us to go next door and insult the other teachers. asked a class wether or not he should have an affair, and went to concerts with us. was a huge paul weller fan
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 10:09, Reply)
Silly Languages
Year 9 Italian lessons, we were told to write short sentences about our family, a sweet for the first person to finish, no mucking around. "My sister, she is a bitch" was quickly presented to the teacher when I'd written it out (E una stronza, I believe is the wording. Something like that.) She just practically pissed herself laughing and walked back to her desk, throwing a lolly my way.

Parent's evening that night, she decided to show Mum what I'd written. Mum was slightly less than impressed and was halfway through asking what my punishment had been, cue teacher; "Well, I couldn't really tell him off 'cause he's got the grammar bloody perfect! Shows something's going through that skull!"

Then there was the time on the school trip to Venice where everyone had bought maces and bb guns, and she collapsed into hysterical laughter whilst rounding them up and about five kids had knocked on her door, presenting her with roughly 2-3 weapons each, simultaneously mumbling "I think you missed these."
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 9:08, Reply)
Well, I suppose the best teacher I've had is Life
at the school of hard knocks.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 8:58, 5 replies)
Art History Professor
A few years ago I had a really interesting art history professor. This guy is very intelligent, witty, and has an unusual style of wardrobe. He's got piercings, tattoos of just about every mythological creature out there,and waist length hair with beads of all sorts. The year I took his class of ancient art history I was having a hard time in life as my dog and stepgrandpa died a month apart. This professor was ( and is) a comedienne, talking about the cocks and pussies of ancient Greek statuary, showing us the seedier side of caveman art ( a cave drawing of what appears to be a saber tooth cat humping a caveman), and just making a usually boring subject a lot of fun. It was shocking the first week listening to this short little Greek guy (which looked like a cross between Jack Sparrow and Boy George) go on about gay porn art on Greek vases, but we eventually enjoyed his lectures. Also he indirectly made my grandmother laugh when I told her something he said, and here I hadn't seen her laugh since my step grandfather had gotten ill six months before he died. On top of this I friended him on FB as I enjoy his wild photography which sometimes stars himself in his wild outfits as he travels the world studying unusual artwork.
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 3:40, 5 replies)
My Antonia
I'll always remember my 11th grade English Lit teacher Mrs. Foster. She was a demure-looking older lady with a weird sense of humor and a heavy southern-U.S. accent. When we read Willa Cather's "My Antonia", there was a particular passage that she singled out to read aloud at high volume. The paragraph was something about a character looking out across the fields and seeing all the wheat standing proud, using a variety of suggestive-sounding metaphors about the erect state of said wheat. She then asked, "So... what is this passage really talking about?"

Being perverted little teenagers, of course we all understood. But no-one wanted to be the first person to admit that the reading assignment had made them think of boners. We all sort of looked about with shifty eyes for a few moments, as Mrs. Foster began to grow impatient. Suddenly her strident accent rang out: "Penises! It's all *penises*!!!"

Length: a good 3-4 feet tall...
(, Mon 21 Mar 2011, 2:07, 2 replies)
sexy chickens
my first year senior english teacher, mrs. illingsworth. she decided one day to give us an impromptu sex education lesson, based on seeing a chicken getting shagged all over her granddad's farmyard. no idea why, but it's something i'll never forget.
we were the last class she taught before retiring. she may have been going slightly doolally by then, but she was a damn funny tacher who could always keep her class interested.
(, Sun 20 Mar 2011, 19:46, Reply)
I hope to have students telling stories....
...like these about me one day :-D

Some of these have really cheered me up. Thanks b3ta!
(, Sun 20 Mar 2011, 18:51, Reply)

This question is now closed.

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