Excuses, Excuses

The last week was a week off from my 'day job', (is it still a day job if you work nights I wonder), what this let me do was catch up on all the things that I can't do when I'm working. What this really means is that my 'week off' was a week spent in meetings, plotting plans, doing writing work and other such things.

This week is also going to be a busy one, not only do I have forty-eight hours of ambulance work, I also have a PR conference where I am a panel guest. I also have the final changes to the sequel to Blood, Sweat and Tea to have in by the end of the week – with some luck I'll have some interesting news about both books in the near future.

Then I need to start planning out the narrative arcs for my third book, which will be fiction – something that I've never really done before.

I'll also hopefully have some good news about a gig that is quite unlike anything else that I've done before – I'll let you know what that is as soon as I can.

Finally I'm chasing yet another writing job that could be extremely interesting.

But tucked away at the end of everything else is a regular podcast and the possibility of another website.

Oh yes, and I should write some blogposts for this blog before I get carried away…

I think I need to employ an assistant.

All of this means that my time spent doing my 'day job', my ambulance work, will be one of the few moments that I'll have to relax – which is obviously a bit strange.

For those that want to take part, this Monday's question (to be answered in the comments) is, “Tell me about a teacher that made an impact on you“. I ask this because I'm reading 'Moab is my washpot', the early autobiography of Stephen Fry where he talks about his teachers. Due to my shocking memory I can't remember any of my teachers, so I'd like to hear about yours.

39 thoughts on “Excuses, Excuses”

  1. Mr Evans, my very first teacher at school. I knew how to read from mum, but he introduced me to library books, and thats where my imagination was waiting to jump me and give me a good kicking 🙂

  2. My 8th grade Social Studies/homeroom teacher, Mr. Benjamin. He let me read history books, which I was already doing, instead of working through the text book. So, instead of classwork I would just read. Then, later in the day he would ask me questions about what I had been reading and we would have actual discussions about history. That was alot different than the wrote learning the other kids did, and I'm still very appreciative of that.Oh, and Monte, my EMT instructor. 🙂

  3. I'm sure I had good teachers that made a difference but I just can't remember them. The bad ones stick in my mind though. The RE teacher who told me I was being ridiculous for stating there was archaeological evidence to support the stories of the Great Flood, the geography teacher who gave me a lower predicted grade for O-levels than my fellow male students despite having higher marks in the mock exams. The Headteacher who told me they were not happy with me applying to my university of choice. The careers advisor who wanted me to consider what I would do when I did not get the o-levels required to do a-levels. They all drove me to succeed, but not in a happy way. Bleh, now I'm grumpy again!

  4. I had some fantastic teachers – the primary school ones are fading a bit now but Mrs Griffiths was great (I remember her administering slaps to naughtier members of the class) – but so many of my secondary school teachers were excellent. Mr King and Mr Gilford I remember particularly for their command of theatrics. Mr Gilford fair enough because he taught English and drama was part of that. Mr King taught Maths but he could hold the class in the palm of his hand. He had a great sense of humour and I remember looking forward to his lessons. Then there was Mr Coppen the physics guy who sticks in my mind for the lesson where we got to fire an air rifle indoors! Theatrics again I suppose. All these teachers inspired me with their enthusiasm. I grasped early on in my life that it was best to concentrate on things you loved and enjoyed – success was much more likely that way. Plodding on in something because you can is a waste of energy and potential. Thanks to Miss Smith, the most acidic chemistry teacher in the world, who taught me that one too (I dropped out of chemistry).

  5. Probably my maths teacher, who told me from the age of 13 to take maths at uni. I didn't listen – I had my heart set on medicine.At the last minute I changed my mind…and guess what I took?

  6. Mr Keany, my art teacher – I have no artistic ability whatsoever so probably didn't make his job a lot of fun but he showed us all how a teacher could command respect without ever, not even once, raising his voice. He treated us like adults and with respect from the age of 11 and so was treated in the same way. He died a couple of years ago from cancer – I still think of him from time to time despite not having been in his class for the past 15 years.

  7. Mr Butcher, English Teacher.Incredible bloke. Could spend the whole lesson going off on what appeared to be tangents, talking about interesting/highly destructive stuff he got up to as a kid (a lot of parallels with Scaryduck but with less “inna hedge”) and yet nevertheless we all somehow got a working knowledge of the books, plays and poetry on the syllabus.The respect we had for him was awesome. I particularly remember a time when all the English teachers had gone to the funeral of a deceased colleague. Our class was meant to have a supply teacher but there'd been a cockup somewhere along the line and we were alone in the classroom. We all sat down and got on with our work – impressive for any GCSE class, but particularly for a mixed-ability group in a grotty comp. After 45 minutes of the 55-minute session, we decided we'd better find a teacher to sign the register. What we found was one of the deputy heads, failing to control the class next door. Gobsmacked doesn't even begin to cover it. He'd thought our room was empty.

  8. Mrs Beard – Didn't have a beardMrs Knight – Best nursery teacher ever and everyone wanted to be taught by her

    Mr de Wit – Taught music, maths, P.E. and anything else you care to mention. Scared the bejesus out of us. Wouldn't let the girls play football because we were girls. Retrospectively, a great, funny, teacher

    Fran – Drama teacher in college. Taught us but also chatted with us. Much more informal than most lessons and the results proved that worked.

  9. Oh, teachers who've inspired me …This fortnight I'm back in my hometown, around 6 years after leaving school. The day after I arrived I spent 7 hours at my old school. All of my teachers are excellent people and several of them have remained good friends.

    But for real inspiration, top marks to my GCSE French teacher who would never speak to me in English (I'm now bilingual), and who instructed encouraged me to join a lunchtime group encouraging environmental awareness on the school campus. She then instructed encouraged me to be student co-ordinator. I ended up majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in French.

  10. Hmm, I had many many great teachers, the one that made the real effect on me was probably Mr Torn, As a history teacher he made me really think about the past, and see how if effects the future, and made me know what to do. Last year he was finally acknowledged and won teacher of the year (for London i think it was) but in my view he should have won it 12-15 years ago!

  11. Mr Chris Gibbsmy biology teacher. he was amazing – so inspirational. he loved, lived and breathed what he was teaching. but he wasn't just a 'classroom teacher' – he was a person who was inclusive, funny and caring.now, after many twists and turns, i'm back to what he showed me how to love – studying the environment and biology at university.and i can't wait to spend the rest of my life learning about it.

  12. Andrew Lambert – my A-level physics teacher – inspired me more than anyone else ever has; it's because of him I went on to do a physics degree. He had a way of making the subject come alive and was a true inspiration. Plus, even for his sixth form classes, he always put on a christmas treasure hunt with lemon juice and shortbread biscuits at the end of it! He'd ask open-ended questions to encourage debate, which made the subject so much more accessible. Very sadly he died unexpectedly of leukemia a couple of months before I finished my A-levels. He'd been teaching in the same school for over 30 years and hundreds of his past pupils came to his memorial service, in fact it was so packed they used a PA system to transmit the service to other rooms as it couldn't fit everyone in!

  13. 2nd grade teacher Miss Bosch – who complimented me on thinking about the answer, before raising my hand. Made a HUGE impact on me.Driver's Ed teacher Mr. White. Taught us basics of First Aid as part of class. The first time I had to use my baby F/A skills in real life, I could hear in my head his voice calmly reciting the steps to perform, keeping me calm until proper help arrived.

    Freshman Algebra teacher Mr. Wesolowski – who taught me that even if you ARE the teacher's pet, you still have to do your homework. *smile*

  14. Dr. Jim Shevels,A mad chemistry teacher circa 1974.Bede Hall Grammar, Billingham.Always leaving things around that weren't on the syllabus, but if used correctly (incorrectly?) would produce fantastic results (bangs, smoke, burning through of plastic dishes etc.) and lead to questions from his gang of no gooders who would subsequently learn something.And Miss Green (Calm, calm, my beating heart) who once reduced the tension in a sex education lesson, which was of course interrupted by rude comments from the back of the class, by stating she had tried anal sex once, but she didn't like it because it hurt too much.That shut everyone up…And Les Cookson, my form teacher, metalwork teacher and maker of fantastic things, told me I would never be a sportsman (I represented my country at my minority sport) and I would never take a decent photograph in my life (I am also a pro photographer)Woffy.

  15. My chemistry teacher was called Norman Conquest and had a dog he named 'Hastings'. Who says science teachers don't have a sense of humour.

  16. 2 I can think of:The head teacher, the best a school could ask for (really) he retired in my 4th year, we then had 2 heads after but it was never the same. The school entered a downward spiral after that, plummeting down Scottish school league tables by about 70 places.

    The other was my physics teacher, possibly the best teacher I have ever had. Although I enjoyed Physics it could become a rather dry subject but he always was enthusiastic about it. He would even let me hang about with my friends when they were doing their advanced higher projects during the free periods.

  17. My chemistry teacher (the only man at the time in a girls school) offered a day's pay if any of us “gels” actually became an engineer, a safe bet at the time. At the time that was not my intention, but when I remembered, I regretted I never went back to collect. I can't say he inspired me to do it, but I was glad to call his bluff.

  18. I distinctly remember 2 particular teachers, for slightly different reasons. One was Dr. Wood, who was the best Geography & Geology teacher you could ever hope to have. He had been there, seen it and done it and was so full of stories and knowledge that his lessons were a minefield of information that made it a joy to learn. It helped that I got on with him I suppose, and he fought my corner when I was told by the school that I couldn't do GCSE Geography as there weren't enough spaces and I had to do History instead. I was absolutely rubbish at History and he argued my case for me and I ended up being allowed to do it as long as I was in his class. He was teacher who we all had the utmost respect for, he never had to raise his voice or shout, and he could control the bad/naughty kids without an effort, and in all his time at the school he never gave out a detention because he didn't need to.Move onto A-level Geology, where I was 1 of 2 girls in a class full of boys. He again used to fight our corner and regularly used to tease the boys that said girls would be rubbish at Geology, and helped us prove them wrong as we both got A's! I blame him in a nice way for my false start at University. He was so good at his job and made learning so interesting that from the age of 12 when he started to teach me I wanted to be a Geogprahy and Geology teacher like him, and wanted to inspire and teach others as he had me. It was all I ever wanted to do throughout my teens. But once I got to University, it was a more than a bit different. So I changed to do nursing. And in doing so, I believe I have found my vocation. I kept in touch with him for a while but not any more which is a shame. But I guess times change and people move on.

    My second inspirational teacher was my Physics teacher and incidentally the person who taught me to sail. He was a good Physics teacher, although that isn't the main reason I remember him. Over the course of my school life, through Physics lessons and sailing, he became a friend and a mentor. We used to sail racing boats together as we are a similar size and he would always shout at me for being too enthusiastic and reckless (not my boat!!) and capsizing all the time, but we got on like a house on fire. Sounds sad I know, but there aren't that many teachers who will let you skip an A-level Physics lesson after you've run into the Prep room in floods of tears having just found out your boyfriend has been sleeping with your best friend (ha!) and not ask any questions or pry, and then spend his whole lunch hour with a weepy 6th former sat on the floor of his office so she can be out the way of the rest of the 6th form, eating his chocolate biscuits and drinking his tea whilst debating the fact with his assistant that said boyfriend is a t**t and best friend is a cow.

    I used to get teased about how well we got on, but even at the time I didn't care, and I wasn't the only one who got on well with him. He says now he stayed at the school until I had left because he wanted to finish teaching me my A-level physics, and see me succeed and thanks to him I did. He has since called me the daughter he never had. I am 25 now and I still count him amongst my good friends. And he still shouts at me when we're sailing. I try and point out that I'm not 16 anymore, but some things never change.

  19. Two spring to mind:-Mmmm, Mr Saxty – what a b*****d! Maths teacher who hated me, took great delight in announcing to the class that I'd only got 25% in a test. It seemed like his reason for teaching was so that he could humiliate children. I'm pleased to say that years later I got my own back, he applied for a job at a school that my mother was working at – and they asked my opinion of him (as they knew he'd taught me) – and I told them! He didn't get the job!!

    Mike Stubbs – not a teacher of mine, but worked at the same school as my Mum. He was a total inspiration (to his students, but also to me), at the age of 27 I didn't know what I wanted to do, with no qualifications I didn't think I could do much. Mike persuaded me to apply to university as a mature student – I now have a first class honours degree in archaeology! Thank you Mike.

  20. I know this is off-topic, but I can't help myself. This has been bothering me for YEARS. Ever since Fry's book first came out, as a matter of fact.What the hell does “Moab is my washpot” MEAN? What's the implication? What are you supposed to get from it?

    I've looked it up on Wikipedia. I've tried Google. Everybody else seems to know, so it's never explained. Everybody in cyberspace, that is. Nobody in my circle of friends knows.

    Please help!

  21. It's a quote from the King James bible. Psalm 108. Moab is an area by the Red Sea and a washpot is a slave who holds a bowl whilst their master washes. Moab is my washpot therefore means that the Moabites (who were enemies of the Isrealites) will be turned into slaves. Real old testiment stuff. Interestingly, remembering what happened to George Bush jr, the qoute is followed by 'over Edom will I cast out my shoe'.

  22. I should also add that as well as meaning that he wished to overcome his enemies (bi-polarism etc) it might just be that Steven Fry wanted an enigmatic title for his book. I will add that I didn't learn this from my RI teacher (Yes, RI, I went to a catholic comprehensive) and that the teacher I remember most was Mr Utley. He made sure my brother left school with enough qualifications to get a decent job and the chance of further education when the other teachers had given up on him.

  23. Mr Nichols, maths teacher, utter psycho. Enjoyed creating an impact on his pupils by throwing hard objects very fast at their heads. When he was leaving he joked about taking up the post of commandant at Auschwitz. Tosser.

  24. Still at sixth form, I'd have to say that my current headmaster is actually awesome. For the presentation of an extended piece of work some of us did, the president of the group that awards all exam certificates came to present them to us, and for fifteen minutes solid our headmaster criticised what he'd done, how they'd said there was no way he could get teenagers to write and research 5000-word dissertation style things for fun without an incentive, how they'd all be awful. And this man listened. Such is the legend of my headmaster.And seeing as at this rate I'll mess up my A-levels through the internet being too good at distracting me from revision, how much exactly are you proposing to pay this assistant? And is an A in GCSE English sufficient qualification? 😛

  25. Mr Webster, my GCSE scienc teacher. A physicist by background, who found chemistry interesting, and who tolerated biology because he had to teach it! Like many teachers described above, he is remembered as someone who loved his subject in an infectious way, and who treated the 15-16 year old girls in his care like people.One lesson, I was frantically doing my geography homework for the next period, instead of whatever it was we were supposed to be doing. Unbeknownst to me, Mr Webster wandered up behind me and started reading over my shoulder. “Volcanoes, eh?” started a discussion about geology. I was mortified that I'd broken his trust, and he knew that he didn't need to lose his temper to get me to pay attention in future.

    And I'm now a physicist.

  26. Mr Featonby.My GCSE history teacher. I was always a little bit in bother when I was at school. Nothing really bad, just a bit mischieveous! Mr featonby taught me “medicine through the ages” and had me hooked from day one. All of a sudden I started getting A's for my course work and ending up being top of the class in that subject. I have no doubt he started me on my path into healthcare. He had cancer during my last year at school but never missed a day, used to come into school with his wig on and still did the after school club. I was lucky enough to see him again a few years after I left school whilst I was on a placement during my nursing course. I had to arrange a visit to observe childhood adolescence so I thought it would be good to go back to my comprehensive school and see it from the other side. During lunch break one day I was sitting in the staff room ( weird in itself!) when I decided to have a word with him. I told him that he had turned my life around, and the fact that I was about to qualify as a registred nurse was all down to him and his lessons. He gave me a big hug and started to cry! What I didn't know at that point was that his cancer had come back and he was terminally Ill. He died a few months later.

  27. My year 7 maths teacher who let me ignore the lessons she was teaching so I could go at my own pace (usually a few lessons ahead of the rest of the class).My year 8 and 9 English teacher who hated me with a passion and so distroyed any likeing I had of English.

    My GCSE Physics teacher who never actually taught us any Physics yet we still all passed.

    My year 11 ICT teacher who managed to get most of us to pass even though we had to do 4 years of work in a year.

    And my upper 6th Psychology teacher who helped me gain 2 grades in a year.

  28. my bezerk chemistry teacher who shown us not to use water on liquid fires by setting his desk on fire and throwing water on it. He also taught us to make amyl nitrates which was an amusing session.

  29. A leader in my EMT course has been amazingly influential for me. He owns the company, he is a pilot, climber, rescue diver, passed his pre-med, started other businesses, operates as a paramedic for an air-evac company, has trained with special forces, is a SWAT Medic, travels the world, AND is a full time dad.Oh… Did I mention that he's only about 30?

    I almost chopped off my mid-back length hair just for the opportunity to work with him.

    Thanks Kuller

  30. we have to use books written by a norman conquest….im assuming its the same one as it not a very common name…!My maths teacher Ken Nisbet, retired just before christmas leaving our class in the middle of advanced highers! he would use very random objects that left our class thinking he was talking about rubbish, but when it came to explaining theories it made sense! such as using dominoes in a line, knocking down one by one, to illustrate proofs!

  31. The teacher that made the biggest impact on me was the smarmy arsehole or a headteacher at my junior school.He suggested to my parents that I was probably having difficulties in the lessons due to the fact that I may have a lower intelligence, therefore he requested a full psychiatric review and IQ testing to be done my the Local Education Authority.

    Well the report was rather interesting and instead of me being the one with the bad report the school had it's knuckles rapped.

    They were advised to use part of their annual budget to buy higher level books for all subjects as I was 'acting out' through boredom.

    Two weeks later I joined Mensa – aged 7 & 3/4.

    For any child to be publicly segregated from their peers for their 'special tests' it is humiliating.

    But, it was the bullying I endured from the Headteacher and the staff that gave me the drive to show them all that they were completely and utterly wrong about me.

    I have since had one of the staff as a patient on my ward – he refused to speak to me, telling the Sister that I would be incompetent and was a waste of space. Shame, every other patient I have cared for has never had any complaints!

  32. Have you tried 'gabcast'? I was intoduced to it yesterday. It's free to sign up to, then for the cost of a phone call, you can record voice messages and publish them on your gabcast site for all to hear. Easy to do from the back of an ambulance! You can also edit them to create podcasts

  33. Mr Broomhall, GSCE English teacher – instilled a love and understanding of poetry that has seen me through good & bad times 🙂

  34. Mr. Norton, my secondary school science teacher. He was brilliant, always engaging and very witty. But he hated people getting things wrong and would bang the metre ruler to wake up the pupils. So much so, all the others hated him. But I understood, and he taught me very well. He always encouraged me, and gave me lots of praise on parent's evenings. Only, it seemed cool to not like him. They even made up a song about hating him. So I joined in with the fun, because I was *ahem* one of the less cool people *cough* (geek) *cough*. But I wanted to have something in common with the cool kids. One day I was with a friend and I was singing the 'I hate Mr. Norton' song, to find him standing behind me. I was suprised, he looked a little hurt. I don't know why I did that :(My current favourite is a great friend of mine, an ex-paramedic who has helped me so much in the past few months. He is so intelligent and has so many years of experience that he's been able to teach me. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be on the career pathway that I am now. Love him to bits 🙂

  35. The best teacher that I ever had was Mr John Kerr a Modern Studies teacher. His classes were a joy to go to & never ever dull. Bad behaviour was never a problem in his class, he was about 6'8″ tall and had a 'Look' that would cool the most disruptive pupils. Its as a result of being in his class that I became interested in politics and social history, he really taught me to think and analyse what is going on. He also taught me how to stand up in front of a group of people and talk about any subject, something that has stood me in good stead during my working life.Bye the way I'm really looking forward to the new book – if the books were to be made into a film who would you want to play you?

  36. A teacher at my primary school was also a 'monitor' during dinner. She once made me sit in the dining hall long after all the other pupils had left because I wouldn't (couldn't) eat my bread and butter pudding – I simply didn't like it. This didn't wash with her. She ended up holding my nose and force feeding me the pudding until I vomited it up all over her (YES!!!). She then hit me repeatedly across my backside and legs for making a mess and banned me from the school choir.I still retch at the smell of bread and butter pudding.

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