2010 recycled: Reflections, mostly about a chequered teaching career: Part Four

Classroom exhibit Illawarra Museum. I did take an interest in local history.

Wollongong the Brave

Not every city has its own national anthem.

Raise your hand high
To a burnt sienna sky,
Land that is girt by sea (on one side) —
You may laugh, say we pong,
But to us it’s Wollongong!
Wollongong the Brave!

— from memory.

Parent-teacher nights

This ritual occurs once a term, or twice a year, or once a year — depending where you are. It is often a mad round of quick interviews by the end of which one has forgotten who one is, let alone who one is talking to or about whom one is talking.

Some memorable quotes.

  • “So, what have you got against my son?” I came at the end of a round of hairy interviews, it seems.
  • An entire interview with an intoxicated parent which was mainly about the best brands of sweets. The parent was a grocer.
  • “You tell me when he’s not behaving and I’ll bash him.” — I was from then on very sympathetic to the student and never took up the offer.
  • “Mine’s the blonde one. You know… What’s wrong, Neil? Don’t you remember people you have met at parties?” — That was in fact the Principal’s wife playing a trick on me. I had only ever seen her once before. I did indeed teach her daughter, but “the blonde one” was a touch unhelpful as an identifier in that particular class.
  • (Not from the 1970s). An entire interview devoted to the difficulty of living in Australia without servants!

… more later


2 thoughts on “2010 recycled: Reflections, mostly about a chequered teaching career: Part Four

  1. Very amusing, Neil.

    A teacher friend of mine tells of a similar one where parents, upon being told their son was badly behaved, said, “He is bad, you hit ‘im. Hit ‘im with BIG STICK.” The parents were amazed to hear this wasn’t allowed, and shook their heads.

    Another friend tells a story of a kid who had difficulty maintaining attention in class. The parents sat down, and as the friend explained, the father drifted off and started staring out the window with a blank expression. “Pay attention, dear!” said the mother. Internal thought of teacher…Ah, so that’s where he gets it from. In fact, the same teacher said that many characteristics or difficulties faced by students became entirely explicable when you met their parents.

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