I expect some cherished colleagues have seen this piece in DT, following on Michael Gove’s apology to his former French teacher.
It got me wondering whether I owed any apologies to any of my old teachers. There was Mrs M, the maths teacher, who never managed to convince me there was any point in learning geometry theorems by heart. I was glad that someone had discovered that the sum of the angles of any triangle make two right angles and I hoped they’d had good weather for it, but what had it to do with me? Faced with a circle and a triangle and some odd lines, I never could work out what theorem to apply. I know my ability to score 100% in algebra and arithmetic drove the lady wild, since those were the days when 100% in algebra and 10% in geometry did not lead to Higher (this being Scotland) maths. “No problem” I said. “I won’t sit Higher.” No, I don’t feel like apologising, Mrs M, since you couldn’t enthuse me.
Then there was Miss M, the RE teacher who only saw us once a week and didn’t bother to learn the names of all the girls in the class. Instead she simply picked those whose names she did know – me, because she knew my parents – to answer all questions. Came the day when she bounced into the classroom waving a hot-off-the-press copy of the New English Bible and invited us all to choose a passage we would like to hear from the new version. “Right, lady, you asked for this!” So I chose one of the passages that reads “Tom begat Dick, and Dick begat Harry, and Harry begat … Miss M looked at me coldly, said that it was much the same, and thereafter stopped asking me. No apology there either – a teacher must learn the names of her pupils.
Perhaps some cherished colleagues do feel there are some teachers they “done wrong”. Perhaps my lack of penitence comes from over 20 years of teaching myself.