Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

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Kit Bartlett
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Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by Kit Bartlett » Thu Sep 22, 2016 10:22 am

Recent correspondence on the Memorable Sermons thread refers to a nineteen twenties master who had a very poor disciplinary record in class.
I can recall two such masters from my time, G,H, Bazely. Modern Languages and Rev. H, Poole Mathematics.
Bazely had the classroom next to J.E.Massen, between whom there could have not been a greater contrast.
There must be many others in this sad category.

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by Mid A 15 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:23 pm

Kit Bartlett wrote:Recent correspondence on the Memorable Sermons thread refers to a nineteen twenties master who had a very poor disciplinary record in class.
I can recall two such masters from my time, G,H, Bazely. Modern Languages and Rev. H, Poole Mathematics.
Bazely had the classroom next to J.E.Massen, between whom there could have not been a greater contrast.
There must be many others in this sad category.
Roger Biddick, French and other languages teacher, is one that comes to mind immediately from my time.
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by jhopgood » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:16 pm

Mid A 15 wrote:
Kit Bartlett wrote:Recent correspondence on the Memorable Sermons thread refers to a nineteen twenties master who had a very poor disciplinary record in class.
I can recall two such masters from my time, G,H, Bazely. Modern Languages and Rev. H, Poole Mathematics.
Bazely had the classroom next to J.E.Massen, between whom there could have not been a greater contrast.
There must be many others in this sad category.
Roger Biddick, French and other languages teacher, is one that comes to mind immediately from my time.
I assume "poor disciplinary record" refers to inability to keep control.
If so, Biddick was certainly in that category, and I feel sure I have recounted this anecdote elsewhere.

Biddick was supposed to be trying to teach some of us Russian, (curiously in the same classroom that Pop Massen started me on the lost cause of learning German. I did well under Massen, not so well under Cullen).
It was a double class that started at 10.55, and Biddick was frequently late.
One morning, he was so late that we quietly left the classroom, went downstairs, round the back of the block and into the Science quad.
As I left the building I noticed that Biddick was standing under the arch at the other end of the block, watching the "Great Escape".
He never mentioned anything and nor did we.
Another on the end of some pranks was someone called Bibby, but for the life of me, I cannot recall what he was trying to teach us.
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by Richard » Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:51 am

I suspect that the very poor disciplinarians already mentioned were so obviously bad teachers (general uproar during their classes, etc, etc) that their deficiencies were very quickly recognised by the powers that be. Therefore they soon left CH. There was someone like that in my days, but I never was taught by him and have forgotten his name and subject. However someone else who was a moderately poor disciplinarian (though not as bad as those mentioned) was a Mr Farrar. He taught mathematics and he didn’t last very long either. Unusually, he was immensely popular. I recollect once when the whole school was in Big School one Saturday evening and very happy, waiting for a film to start, he walked through. He was spontaneously and very heartily cheered. All this was because it was he who arranged the weekly film shows. (This was in the 1940s).

In stark contrast to the content so far of this thread, there were a very few masters who could put the fear of God into a class, virtually by raising an eyebrow. They were certainly not sadists, but my examples below were superbly competent teachers and they simply had that sort of personality. (Or was I a particularly sensitive and susceptible small boy when taught by them? Did other Blues also have this sort of experience?) Two such men who taught me were Messrs Arthur Rider (French and finally Second Master) and Derek Macnutt (Head of Classics and the famous cryptic crossword compiler, Ximenes of The Observer).

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by Katharine » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:29 pm

Personality is so important for teachers. Our Classics Mistress, Queenie Blench, was one who could raise an eyebrow as Richard put it! She could be very sarcastic too on occasion. I don't remember any stories of everyone leaving the room as told here. There was a lovely teacher of English who so loved her subject that it completely transcended everything else, I don't think she ever disciplined anyone, but she didn't need to.

I now feel sorry for a very new Maths teacher who was given our very able class in the year prior to that of taking O levels. She couldn't cope with us at all, very first lesson when she was going to teach logarithms, she started by asking 'Does anyone know what logs are used for?', the girl who replied "putting on the fire" was sent to the Headmistress! We knew the Head didn't think badly of this crime as she was made to learn Psalm 117 (2 verses) by heart. (We could always tell the severity of the crime by the length of the allotted psalm)

What is it about Maths teachers? I had another one new to teaching who taught me Applied Maths in the VI form, again poor woman, nothing had prepared her for a VI form pair of girls both bound for Oxford. She didn't have disciplinary problems but just didn't know how to cope.
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by Kit Bartlett » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:57 pm

One could easily tell the difference between good and bad disciplinary masters merely by the amount of noise emanating from the classroom.
I recall J.E. Massen from next door coming into Bazley's classroom on some pretext and actually reprimanding him for his obvious lack of control.
The former was one who just had to raise an eyebrow or give a look to command instant attention.
Macnutt ruled by fear and I recall the burst of nervous laughter which occasionally occurred if and when he made some form of lighthearted remark or perish the thought, a joke.

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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by Straz » Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:04 am

I was taught French by Roger Biddick for a year or so during the early 1970s.
As others have mentioned here, he couldn't keep discipline.
Consequently his lessons were often chaotic, occasionally verging on near-riots.
The further you sat towards the back of his classes, the more you could indulge in bad behaviour with little fear of reprimand.
I recall fellow pupils setting fire to ping-pong balls using a magnifying glass to focus the sun's rays, making pencil erasers smoulder using similar techniques, throwing paper darts at each other and general chit-chat about anything other than French.
I've even got a vague memory of someone lighting up a fag during one of his classes, but surely that's my mind playing tricks...
I'm afraid I was guilty of some of this poor behaviour myself, which probably explains why I failed to achieve a grasp of basic French during Biddick's lessons.
It was a great shame because he was clearly good at his subject, he seemed a nice chap, and his lessons - for those in the front couple of rows who were prepared to listen, pay attention and didn't muck about - were worthwhile.
C'est la vie...
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by sejintenej » Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:36 am

Straz wrote: I failed to achieve a grasp of basic French during Biddick's lessons.
.
I had occasion to introduce an SOE instructor (he was brought up in France but spoke perfect English) to my French teacher (? Cullen); the report was that the teacher didn't know the first thing about French

When I took French O level in the 1950's that same person saw the paper and admitted that he might have problems with it.

My granddaughter and a friend came to stay in France a few days after taking GCSE French (she passed) and they spent the evenings with a crowd of French kids in town; she reported that she learned more French in that week than in all the years up to GCSE. GCSE standard must be terribly low.
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by Katharine » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:09 am

I am not impressed with GCSE standards, a friend of mine took GCSE Maths two years ago as an adult learner. She was no way ready for it, but there was no more funding so she was entered. To my horror she came out with a grade C. On her very best day she might have achieved a D with a following wind in my days of teaching the subject.

She does not live near me, so I was not tutoring her, except by email, not the best way!
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by postwarblue » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:53 pm

David Farrar was briefly Col B junior housemaster. A game of rugger he was reffing got so out of hand that he took a gymshoe to both teams which must have been quite tiring.

We had an Australian maths master on exchange called Surridge whose mantra was 'stop throwing chalk'. Somehow when he wanted the blackboard rubber it was always on top of the blackboard frame.

There was another maths master whose name I forget who had been in Korea in the Black Watch so we played 'Sir, Sir, tell us about your medal' as an alternative to logarithms. If people threw paper darts he never saw them take off so punished the recipient. This led to the odd bod being chosen as a target and put on the receiving end of a mass salvo from everybody else. Then we discovered a better game. His classroom was next to Bill Armistead's and looked out over the Quad, across which, perchance, The Oil would stride magisterially on some errand or other. We discovered heuristically (the Veep would have been proud of that) that if we shied paper darts out of the window The Oil's wrath would descend on the master whose classroom was adjacent.

In Physics there was a Mr Everett who was a bit alarmed to find one boy picking up small globules of mercury off the bench and eating them. The same boy used to emit a very satisfying shriek if punctured in the side by the pointy end of his neighbour's pair of compasses.

There was always a near totality of Oxbridge gowns in Chapel but I do wonder if many of the wearers had had any teacher training.

All this ca.1949/1950
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by J.R. » Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:36 pm

postwarblue wrote:David Farrar was briefly Col B junior housemaster. A game of rugger he was reffing got so out of hand that he took a gymshoe to both teams which must have been quite tiring.

We had an Australian maths master on exchange called Surridge whose mantra was 'stop throwing chalk'. Somehow when he wanted the blackboard rubber it was always on top of the blackboard frame.

There was another maths master whose name I forget who had been in Korea in the Black Watch so we played 'Sir, Sir, tell us about your medal' as an alternative to logarithms. If people threw paper darts he never saw them take off so punished the recipient. This led to the odd bod being chosen as a target and put on the receiving end of a mass salvo from everybody else. Then we discovered a better game. His classroom was next to Bill Armistead's and looked out over the Quad, across which, perchance, The Oil would stride magisterially on some errand or other. We discovered heuristically (the Veep would have been proud of that) that if we shied paper darts out of the window The Oil's wrath would descend on the master whose classroom was adjacent.

In Physics there was a Mr Everett who was a bit alarmed to find one boy picking up small globules of mercury off the bench and eating them. The same boy used to emit a very satisfying shriek if punctured in the side by the pointy end of his neighbour's pair of compasses.

There was always a near totality of Oxbridge gowns in Chapel but I do wonder if many of the wearers had had any teacher training.

All this ca.1949/1950
I seem to recall in physics being told that mercury was higly toxic, even though it was used to treat syphilis in the very early days.

God only knows what it must have done to the young lad you mentioned !
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by sejintenej » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:02 pm

Katharine wrote:I am not impressed with GCSE standards, a friend of mine took GCSE Maths two years ago as an adult learner. She was no way ready for it, but there was no more funding so she was entered. To my horror she came out with a grade C. !
As an employer I agree entirely though perhaps a C should have been an F.
Having that C was a prerequisite to being interviewed and then the victim had to sit the dreaded EXAM :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: . 5 questions, unlimited time, plenty of scrap paper (and a calenday on the back wall). One colleague, checking my answers, finished the test in under 60 seconds but we recorded times up to 20 minutes.
What is the date 90 days after the 3rd of MAY was question 3. Question 5 was simple addition and subtraction of five figure units and two figure decimals with spaces for each individual answer and no negative answers.** Of 17 applicants 8 didn't get a single question correct. 3 got 100%

By comparison I failed GCE Elementary and A level maths :( :( :( but found the test simple

My neighbour, Deputy Head of a Comp (or whatever they called them then) complained that it was employers and not schools who had to teach basic maths and we should not test applicants.



**
58351.28 ADD
21879.21
-----------

18692.98 Subtract
----------

6908.24 add
------------

5 sums in this example format
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:38 pm

Tom Keeley had an appalling disciplinary record in his first year (1956/57), and his classroom had to be specially redecorated to cover up the ink splashes which made the back wall look like a Jackson Pollock painting.

A Biddick story: a boy wrote a French essay for him, which he looked at and gave back. The boy then took it to Arthur Rider for his comments. AR went through it with a fine-tooth comb, making dozens of recommendations. When he came to the end, he found Biddick had written at the bottom (the only thing he'd written at all): 'This seems to be along the right lines.' (This story I owe to Pat Cullen.)

Someone above says that Macnutt was not a sadist. Sorry, but the evidence is to the contrary (and has been mentioned before, both on this forum, and in published memoirs).
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by dsmg » Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:49 pm

Tom Keeley ´taught`me for about three years in the 70s. He was an affable character but seemed to have very little interest in teaching. He would turn up 20 minutes late for most classes by which time the whole class would have disappeared. On other occasions he literally fell asleep in the class. I don't think he would have lasted very long in a modern-day school. Perhaps it had something to do with his wife running the kitchens.
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Re: Poor disciplinary C.H. staff

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:01 pm

"On other occasions he literally fell asleep in the class."

Often. He was famous for it. In Grecians' 'optional' Latin (it wasn't 'optional', some non-classicists needed it for university entrance) we used to creep out one by one. Once, just for fun, someone woke him up by dropping a heavy dictionary on the floor just as someone else was making his way to the door.
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