School days were dangerous, not least because of the teachers!

Teachers could be a ruthless bunch in yesteryear
Teachers could be a ruthless bunch in yesteryear

Our top columnist Geoffrey Shryhane takes a less than fond look back at his school days...

They say that your school days are the best days of your life. Sorry…not for me.

It’ll soon be six decades since the gates clanged shut on my last days in the classroom. A welcome noise just two weeks before I started work.

But in quiet moments, I’ve often wondered why I never took to life in the classroom. And I have now come to the conclusion that my dislike was born out of fear.

It’s true, some of the lessons were OK. I enjoyed making a scrap book in the craft class, the first step to a university education. NOT. But I loathed metalwork with the laiths I saw as dangerous and woodwork where the chisels were lethal. I recall the fear factors when some of the teachers shouted and flung books across the classroom and were too handy with the cane. And I remember knowing that the following year I would have to go into the class of a teacher who seemed to do nothing but scream.

Boy was I glad when, during the summer holidays, she popped her educational clogs. Surely a kid shouldn’t have had to feel sick to his 10-year-old stomach? Then there was the hatred of outdoor games in deep winter. Standing about freezing and praying that the showers would be warm.

By and large the teachers were a critical lot. True many had their favourites. Alas I never achieved such status.

Nor did I ever forget being slapped across the face for running in the wrong direction across the lanes on sports day. And a bad woodwork groove was also rewarded with the same kind of punishment.

I’ve often wondered if I was the only kid who hated school and was so relieved to leave. I suspect not.

And so came 1960 – and, having got a trial on this newspaper, longed for that last day when the headmaster wished us luck and success and sent us into the big wide world of work.

My working life materialised like a dream – six and a half days for £4 a week. The way I felt I’m sure I’d have worked for free.