Thursday, 12 April 2012
Goodbye, Mr Chips
Browsing my Facebook page, I was surprised to pick up a reference to a chap I used to teach with in a Boys' High School 35 odd years ago. Curious, I had a look at his page and was delighted to see that he had 350 friends on it, most of whom were ex-pupils. I gathered that he had gone on to be a headmaster in a private school after cutting his teeth at the rough-ish government school where I met him and that vast numbers of his ex-pupils remembered him with both affection and gratitude. Weird to read about the subsequent careers and marriages of these 'youngsters' and awesome to think that his wonderful teaching had influenced so many so well. I used to think when I was teaching, that it was sad that one so rarely heard of ex-pupils again and often mused about whether I had wasted my time and energy doing my best to engage their interest. (The days before Facebook and Internet!) Once I did hear the name of one girl on the radio: she was carving out her dream career as an actress. Luckily, she had been in my House at school and so we had often won the Inter-House play competition. Another time, I heard via a grape vine that a young lad had become an Aircraft Mechanic, so impressed had he been by the big diagram of a jet engine I had once brought to school (courtesy of my aircraft mechanic husband) for a Career Guidance class. That was nice. I contacted my ex-colleague and was delighted to receive a reply. He was your old-fashioned dedicated teacher, devoted to the boys: he never married. He mentioned that he had just retired and had only opened his Facebook page three weeks ago.