Your favourite teachers
|Terry Crewe (1970-75) came up with the idea for this page. Everyone, he says, had a favourite teacher and wouldn't it be nice to have a page where you can tell us about your favourite? What a lovely idea! So here we go. Terry has started us off with a few paragraphs about his. If you would like to tell us about your favourite teacher, e-mail your words to me.|
|Terry Crewe (1970-75)
The advertisement goes something like "nobody forgets a good teacher", or something similar. Of course, remembering a good teacher can be at best relative and at worst clouded in nostalgia. I first met Mr. Norman Parry in September 1970 and, to be honest, I wasn't too impressed. He was what I would call "old school" in that he didn't subscribe to the "trendy" teaching methods of the 60s and 70s. However, he was a gentleman. He treated everyone with respect, addressing all the girls as "Miss" and he usually had nicknames for the boys. I went into his Form in 1971 and thus began a friendship that lasted until his death in the late 90s.
Norman was a plumber by trade, who became a Metalwork teacher. He brought to the classroom an industrial world of discipline, humour and respect. What was surprising was that I got on so well with Norman; I wasn't a practical lad and struggled with Metalwork, but for some reason we hit it off. He put the fear of God into most kids by the threat of "Black Bess", a large plastic tube that he would belt against the desk creating a loud noise - he confessed to me after his retirement that in all his years of teaching he'd never once used it, stating that if he had, it would probably have had no impact whatsoever - clearly his bark was worse than his bite.
Norman was a fervent believer in institutions such as the YMCA, and he took lads on camping trips to Derbyshire and down to Cornwall. He allowed us to go to the pub when we were 15 and treated us the way we wanted to be treated. Of course, I can understand why this may be frowned upon, but we never abused his trust. When we left the lower school for the upper school I kept in touch and continued to go camping, canoeing and sailing on the YMCA barge with him and the rest of my classmates.
When Vera died, Norman was never the same man; however, my last conversation with him was possibly the most interesting. I had been involved in local politics for some years but never once discussed the subject with him. When I was elected to serve as a Councillor, I thought he might be interested. Unbeknown to me, Norman was politically active too (fortunately, for the same Party). We spent a long time debating politics and the damage done in the 1980s (no guessing which Party). I never saw Norman again, but I truly believe that the values Norman had as a teacher were passed implicitly on. To those who received a Mars bar on their birthday or can remember the old man on the motorbike, Norman Parry was a gentleman and a truly remarkable individual. He shaped many kids' lives who lived on that large council estate called Wythenshawe, maybe not academically, but by creating a solid value base on which to build. Hopefully, many others share my view.
Every Friday morning Miss Champness went to the bank at Gatley to deposit money from the sale of biscuits at break time, for which she was responsible. She appointed me as her bodyguard and it was also my job to put out the boxes of biscuits before morning break and to put them away afterwards.
Miss Champness lived in Hale with her mother and sister and she asked Geoff Sissons and myself to clean their cars on Sunday mornings and to do other odd jobs that they couldn't do for themselves. Afterwards, Geoff and I would repair to the Unicorn in Hale for an illicit drink. We were invited to birthday parties and other family gatherings, and Miss Champness came to my 21st birthday party. Her mother, although quite elderly, was a marvellous person and used to treat Geoff and I like children; she always gave us sweets to go home with.
Miss Champness contracted breast cancer while she was still teaching at Poundswick and had a successful operation for it at a private hospital in Altrincham. Geoff and I visited her while she was there. Shortly afterwards, in 1969, she retired from teaching and moved up to Kirkby Lonsdale to live with her brother and sister. I visited her there a number of times but eventually lost touch due to business and personal commitments. One Sunday my wife called me into the front room as Songs of Praise was on T.V. The service was from the parish Church at Kirkby Lonsdale and there, in the front row of pews, was Miss Champness; a wonderful surprise. Shortly afterwards I called in to see her but learned from her sister that she had passed away.
I think of her each time I look at the wedding present she bought us; she was, unfortunately, too ill at the time to attend in person. As I write these words her memory comes flooding back and my tears are falling on the keyboard. She was a wonderful person.
Andy Turner (1981-86)
I had some great times at Poundswick and I have fond memories of certain teachers - in particular Mr. Alan Bell who taught P.E. and Games. He gave me my first chance with Manchester Boys Football and Cricket teams. He was a coach at Manchester level for football and recommended me to the coaching staff. The opportunity was grabbed with both hands and I went on to play at my beloved Man City's ground (Maine Road) representing Manchester Boys. I will always be grateful to him for this one day alone - not many can say they played on such hallowed turf.
Mr Bell was inspirational to me. As well as coaching me in football he also encouraged me to represent Manchester Boys at cricket, and to throw the javelin at Sale in the U.K. juniors. From time to time he allowed me to take the odd P.E. lesson with younger pupils, which got me out of the odd lesson or two!
He was a member of the Manchester Boys Coaching staff that toured Scotland playing at various stadiums (against Scotland's Under-16 team) and was always there supporting and encouraging me in my sports career. He was the one who told my father after a Manchester Boys hat-trick, that scouts from professional football clubs wanted me to go for trials, which I did. I played really well, got asked back, but blew it through getting injured playing for a Sunday team.....where could I have been today??? OK, well maybe not!
I remember one of
Poundswick's famous football victories - against Burnage High School,
whose team included players that were on Manchester City's and
Blackburn's books, some of whom played in the Manchester Boys team.
Their Captain - who is now one of my best friends - assured us that we
could never beat them and we all thought that we were about to be
thrashed by the 'Barcelona' of Manchester schoolboy football.
Undaunted, Mr. Bell shouted 'come on lads, you've got nothing to lose;
we've got good players too . . . get stuck in to them!'
When the final whistle was blown, the score was 3-2 to Poundswick!
I offered their Captain my hand; he just scowled at me and told me to f
. . . k off!
In my working career I have travelled the world training airline and military pilots on every continent. I consider myself fortunate to have done what I have done, and am still doing to this day. I am, however, fortunate to have met some wonderful and inspirational teachers at Poundswick, especially Alan Bell; they each played their part in turning me into what I am today.
The teachers at Poundswick in
the 1980s performed a difficult job in a difficult area during a
difficult time - and they did it with professionalism and dedication.