Over the years, you come across in teaching, some memorable students and the odd one or two you want to forget! When I went to teach in Brussels, it was from the sublime to the ridiculous, having gone from an inner city comprehensive to a school where the fees were higher than Eton.
A school with only a concrete playground, to one with acres of green space. From being Miss, Miss, Miss, they never seem to hoist on board the Mrs, to one where first names were used and that was a huge shock. No way was any student going to call me by my first name, until I realised how politely the students used it. Know which I prefer! Most definitely the Christian name.
The privilege of using first names was simply never abused
In Brussels we had students from over seventy five different nationalities. Each bringing something to the school culture. Pronunciation of names could be a problem but you quickly learned. Keeping a straight face by biting your lip to stop laughing was a common occurrence when reading out a class list.
"Really your name is Bangbang?" Oh yes he does exist!
Another class contained an Innocent and a Charity, neither of which showed these admirable traits. Then there was Shadrack, or as he preferred Shaddy! He caused major problems when being entered for exams as he never had the same name on the top of any of his exam papers. We discovered later, that all the different names and there were many, were all correct but he would just use the one he felt like using on the day!
Robertson was another student who I taught for A level. When asked for his date of birth he was extremely vague. Insisting that it was a necessary piece of information for his exam entry form we discovered, he was in reality, twenty five years old!!
Oh well it proves the adage that you are never too old to learn!
Field trips were an integral part of the Geography courses. Form 10 used to come back to the Uk for a week. For some, it was their first visit to the country and somewhat of a necessity when undertaking GCSEs set by an English exam board.
Calais Ferry Port
Picture the scene, forty plus fifteen year olds,with all their baggage, waiting to board a ferry at Calais and me double checking each one had their passports and any visas for entry at Dover to discover one young man's butler, yes butler, had failed to hand it to him that morning!
We managed to get the school to send it by courier and no further problems, except for a few more grey hairs on my head!
Oh and by the way I never succeeded in getting Shaddy to call me anything other than Man! "Yer Man"was his usual reply.