diary · family · History · memoir · Teaching · women

Nan’s Diary: Character stories from teacher training

The blog has been on the back burner for a few months while I completed my second teacher training placement but let’s return to Nan’s student teacher days now and the friendships she forged:

“I met some interesting people and got friendly with an ex-actress about my age who was in my education group, called Prue Doubleday. She was very funny (ha ha) and spent a good deal of time buttering up the lecturers – she used all her acting skills to put on the ‘can you help me’ act, being all pathetic and virtually being told how to do everything, which she didn’t need anyway because she got ‘A’ or distinctions for everything. Her husband was producing Coronation Street when it first came out and she had quite a lot of showbiz tales to tell.

Some of the younger students I trained with eventually became heads, deputy heads and heads of department, and by the time I retired in 1984, I could tell a few tales about their humble beginnings!

While I was at college another interesting character I got to know was called Peter Hastings. I thought it was very appropriate since he had lived in Hastings. It turned out it wasn’t his real surname (I never found out what it was), but he was married to a Lady Hastings and as such anyone that she married had to take that name too. He was her third husband and they had all been somebody ‘Hastings’. They had three daughters and they had to take the surname as well. I didn’t find out if she had had any children by the previous two Mr Hastings’ but I don’t think so. They lived in the Old Town of Hastings in Harpsichord House, so called because it was shaped like a a harpsichord. I went to tea there once and had afternoon tea on the lawn with about a dozen guinea pigs scuttling about the garden. It was quite an experience! I lost touch with him when we started teaching and I don’t know where he taught, or if he ever did. His wife used to go to the House of Lords quite regularly as she was a peeress in her own right.

“I went to tea there once and had afternoon tea on the lawn with about a dozen guinea pigs scuttling about the garden. It was quite an experience!”

My first year at college was very demanding because I attended lectures all day until 5 or 6pm and by the time I got home, it was well past 6pm most days. There was a good deal of spare time between lectures and, overall, I am sure the course could have been condensed into two years [not three], particularly for mature students who generally got more out of allocated time than the younger ones. We didn’t do as well sometimes academically because we had families to see to, with all the chores associated with them, but in the long run, it didn’t really matter as long as we got there in the end…

Note to self: remember that last bit!

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay


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