Hello! I haven’t blogged for AGES – pretty much everything that’s come up in recent months, that appeared to me to be blogworthy, I’ve managed to persuade Kevin to write about instead, to the point that I had to do extensive research to find out what code I’ve been using to change the colour of my posts. I couldn’t for the life of me remember. I know it’s a reddy brown colour, but the hex value had completely disappeared from my head (that’s hex as in hexadecimal, not as in nasty spells in Harry Potter).
Anyway, I had the oddest dream last night. I dreamed that I took Daisy back to my old primary school, St Luke’s, and showed her off to, specifically, Mrs Hodgkinson, and Mr Baddeley. I have no idea if Mrs Hodgekinson still works as the school, though she was by far my favourite teacher at the time. I suspect not, coz the only likely-looking Janice Hodgkinson I can find on the internet is a staff governor in a school in Leicestershire.
Mr Baddeley would appear to still be the head master. I found this out when he appeared on the local TV a couple of months ago, describing his new scheme of running formal dinner parties at lunch time, to enable the children of the TV dinner generation to learn table manners and polite conversation. The children are taken out of the main dining hall in groups of six or eight, and allowed to eat in a class room, with a member of staff as their invited guest. I was struck by the fact that the children were in a blue uniform (primary schools didn’t do uniforms in our day…) and by the fact that Mr Baddeley looks essentially the same, just greyer, and rounder.
It’s twenty years, nearly, since I left the school to go the local high school (which, incidentally, I loathed, and left without so much as a backward glance when we moved house, two terms later). At that time, the staff were all Bright Young Things, high flying their way to successful careers in teaching. Mr Baddeley was only in his thirties, and already succeeding as the head of a good-sized primary school. All the staff he recruited while I was there seemed to be younger (not compared with me at ten, but looking back, they were all in their twenties and early thirties), and keen, and driven by a great desire to teach. I find the idea that Mr Baddeley and Mr Liddell are still there, still at it, quite odd – though as my mum pointed out, Mr Baddeley always had a huge heart for the children in his school, so he was never likely to be drawn away from contact with children by the pursuit of his career.
Twenty years seems like an awfully long time, though. If those two blokes have been working together in that school for all this time, they must know each other’s foibles inside out. They must have seen something in excess of six hundred children go through the school.
In my dream, Daisy was impeccably behaved, and my meetings with Mrs H and Mr B were relaxed, and adult, in a newly peer-to-peer sort of way. They had the same feel as the afternoons that Daisy and I occasionally spend with people, in real life – people from church, who are a generation or so older than I am, but since we’re all grownups, now, it doesn’t really matter. People with whom I’ve finally learned to make small talk (babies are a good focus for that sort of thing – you can take a baby anywhere, and have something to talk about).
The dream gave me an odd sort of desire to write to them – to share my sense of time having passed, and of their important part in my childhood, and in making me the adult that I’ve become. To apologise to Mr Liddell for that incident with Claire Milne and the timestables. To point out that, however annoying he found them, he had no right to kick my voila in that fit of temper, because the three or four instruments in the class wouldn’t fit under the cupboard where we were supposed to keep them (I was furious with him about that, but I said nothing at the time). To thank him for being so sensitive to my strong aversion to the Hallow’een display, even though it didn’t change anything (I was ten, and there had been much talk at church about the evilness of exposing our children to such things – I was always inclined to take that sort of statement to heart, when it was clearly aimed at the adults in the room).
I’m telling you all this, to avoid making an idiot of myself in writing to tell them. But if, by some peculiar fluke, Mr Baddeley, Mr Liddell or Mrs Hodgkinson should happen to read this, then, I raise my glass to you – you were good teachers, all of you. If we ever meet again, I shall take great delight in addressing you as Peter, David and Janice, because I can. I shall also, if I remember, thank you – I met many more bad and mediocre teachers in my scholastic career, than good ones. You bucked the trend.