Rebel Teachers – memorable teachers and lessons

I am going to share a couple of my rebel teachers with you. I say they are rebels because they made their lessons so memorable that, well, I can still tell you in detail their lessons! This, of course, was before the days of the National Curriculum, and so they had perhaps more leeway than teachers today? But they managed to make lessons FUN (or at least QUIRKY!). I’ll settle for quirky – it does help you to remember the facts.

I remember a science teacher, Mr B, who one day had set before the class a glass bell jar with a pair of sheep’s lungs in it, rubber drawn taut over the base, creating a vacuum. Yes, really. Sheep’s lungs. It was a lesson to teach us about the diaphragm and how it works. As he pulled down on the rubber, the lungs expanded – such a simple visual example – I’m sure no girl ever forgot it (it was an all-girls school).

The other memorable one was in junior school. I can’t remember the teachers name – she was a lady with grey hair, almost at retirement. She was teaching us about matters reproductive. It was a delightfully euphemistic lesson which went something like this:

  1. Explain to pupils that the body is one long tube, in essence, in that things can enter at both ends. Use example of falling into the Cam river (Cambridge gets its name from the Cam) and how you didn’t have to take in a mouthful of the water to get sick from it.
  2. Explain the mode of the period, and why it’s needed, thus: the body prepares every month for a visitor – and in doing so puts out the tablecloth, the biscuit tin and the doilies; plumps up the cushions and so forth. When the visitor doesn’t arrive, these have to be put away again, and that is what a period is. She did draw diagrams too, so we could see the actual physical aspects of it, not just to be left with a somewhat odd idea that we are going to bleed biscuits for a week.

I found this quite entertaining even then, but much more so as an adult – because how fun to be taught in such a way – I mean we all understood what she meant, and her explanation made sense to us, but it was presented in such a way we couldn’t fail to be amused and remember it!

Tell me your rebel teacher stories – what ways did teachers make things interesting and fun for you in school? Post a comment.

Best wishes

Lis Goodwin, your voice coach

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