There are many reasons not to go into the teaching profession, children being among the more numerous of those reasons. But for those with a strange desire to spend their working lives in the arcane and underground world that is the educational system, one of the prerequisites should be that one’s name be devoid of any aspect that could be construed as silly or rude. Should, for example, your surname be Pelvicthrust, or your name Mr P. Nightly, then a career in accountancy, where nothing ever amuses anyone, is what is required.
I was at college with one young lady who had a name that is guaranteed to make anyone from the age of 3 to 93 turn purple with mirth. She went on to become a teacher. I expect that she got married and took her husband’s name before she dared introduce herself to her students. I recall only one incident involving this lady that had little to do with her name. I was paying an all too rare visit to my college, and sitting in the canteen with six or seven other young men. The lady in question entered the canteen, and commenced to hand cards to everyone at my table, except me. She had been to visit an establishment of a discreet nature in a local town, and had been advised to invite certain of her closer friends to pay a similar visit. I had very mixed emotions; delighted not to have to make that trip, but concerned as to why I had not been in the group dealt the invitations. I shall not, because I am a caring person, tell you her name, but will say that I believe it is Lancastrian in origin.
My first chemistry teacher had an even more inappropriate name. I can think of very few situations in which the name would not cause embarrassment. At the time, however, the implication in the name was not in common usage, and I was not aware of anyone who drew sexual connotations from it. It would certainly not be the case today. I very much doubt whether she lived up to her name, and I am fairly certain that I would not want to find out. My memories of her are very vague, but I do recall a dislike of her that went beyond intensity and bordered on pathological loathing. She should not have been a teacher even if she had an unamusing name, because she was crap. Note how kind I am in not identifying her.
At my junior school there was Mr Horne. Today he would have to change his name before he considered passing through the school gates. At that time, again as far as I recall, and certainly in my school, there was no rumour that the gentleman was in a state of constant arousal.
It is Mr Horne that I want to tell you about, because he was a damned good chap. He didn’t teach me, but was the teacher given the job of coaching the football team. This is because he was male, 84 years younger than Mr Stevens and 17 stone lighter than Mr Nixon. Our school football team was top rate, and one of the best in the city. I used to go to the practice and training sessions that were held one evening a week after school. I was crap. Utterly, totally, useless. There was, however, never any suggestion made that I should not attend. There were a few of us who knew we would never make the first or second team, and would rarely get a game in the practice sessions, but we loved playing and were not just tolerated but encouraged. In my last year at primary school, the football team won every game in the league (not the top division) and got to the cup final where they narrowly lost. This meant that virtually every Saturday morning in winter, Mr Horne would leave the comforts of his hearth to accompany a group of raucous pre-pubescent thugs and their supporters to wherever the game was to be played. It would probably have been less fun if the team were losing, but it still showed a fair degree of commitment.
What, however, made Mr Horne so outstanding was that, in addition to all of this, he arranged a game for those of us who were regular attendees at training, but would never be picked on merit. The team consisted, if I recall accurately, about six or seven of us donkeys, and four or five good players. I loved it, even though no-one thought to pass the ball to me, I probably got half a dozen kicks of the ball in the game, some of which may have connected, but I was really happy and proud to be in a team which bore the school’s name.
This treatment is in complete contrast to the games teachers I encountered later - a bunch of ignorant, callous fascists who only had contempt for those with little ability. I would gladly frogmarch them all out of their piss soaked retirement homes, make them dress in vest and shorts and set the bastards on a ten mile cross country run.
So, thank you Mr Horne. I hope that you are happy and fulfilled.