The best teacher I ever had

In memory ...

Scott Berkun today suggested we write about the worst teacher we ever had.

I’m struggling. I can remember some of the terrible things we did in class to teachers who showed any kind of weakness, but I can’t really attest to them having been dreadful teachers.

I was very privileged. My parents worked extremely hard and sent me to a private girls school. With sporting genes and two older brothers, by my early teens I was considered a bit of a tomboy. My parents wanted to see my feminine side! So, off to the girls school I went.

I hated it! The first weeks there were so appalling. I’d been at a co-ed primary school since turning five and was used to lots of activity, lots of sport, lots of good clean fun. We were never still for a minute … come morning tea break or lunch there’d be a rush of feet to the tennis courts, the fields and the gym bars. It was a wonderful childhood experience.

But the girls school was quite another story.

The morning tea bell would sound, we would file out in a neat line and sit cross-legged in the quadrangle and talk quietly as we ate our snack. The same thing would happen when the lunch bell rang. I immediately put on weight!

This is nothing about my best teacher is it?

Much like any other children we came up with nick-names for all our teachers. For example, Busty Barb (with massive breasts!) and Strain the pain – a boring science teacher who had the unfortunate name Strain – who we teased mercilessly. We made up loads of limericks about her. We were awful. We might have even driven her to a nervous breakdown because she didn’t last for long….

We were like putty in the hand for good teachers – instant respect and total admiration. It helped if they had a good sense of humor, reasonable figure and style.

Such was my best teacher – she taught english and drama teacher. She was gorgeous and glamorous … fabulous figure, great fashion sense, a sexy walk and a very sexy laugh. She was ‘out there.’ The room would light up whenever she walked in.

She lived nearby one of my closest friends who used to tell us ‘what went on at Caro’s flat’. It was so exciting, so naughty – there was a real thrill knowing things that no-one else knew about her. She didn’t seem to mind that her private life wasn’t altogether private. The reality was probably not as we saw it.

She was an amazing teacher – creative, expressive and generous. She didn’t patronise us, she encouraged us. She was good to us. When harsh words were needed she gave them kindly. She gave so much of herself and we loved her.

We were so miserable when she left us to marry her farmer up north.

Sadly, in my early twenties, we heard that she had terminal cancer. I made one last visit to see my dear friend. She was living in a home she and her husband had converted from an old wooden church. It was beautiful – she was still beautiful. I treasure all those memories.

She was the best teacher I ever had.


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