Great teachers I had a few – but then again too few to mention

Andrew Leigh has a post on an ANU award for great teachers. This is a Good Thing. While I’m in full cry about the forth arm of government – the ‘suasional’ arm of government – I wondered why the ALP didn’t give out awards like that. Could do them much harm. Could do them some good in showing what values they support.

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Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

It’s a great idea, and kudos to Andrew for initiating it.

I had two fantastic teachers in senior – for English and History. By coincidence, I was in Dymocks tonight buying a couple of hardback history tomes, Niall Ferguson’s latest and a history of Prussia – and I ran into Mr Tobin my modern history teacher and had a chat. A lot of what he taught me has stayed with me and continued to fire my enthusiasms and interests. And similarly with Mrs Abernathy for English and my literary interests – though they’re more of an avocation.

But when – if ever – and I’m 38 and 21 years out of high school – do you feel comfortable addressing the said teachers as Graham and Kate? I always give myself a gold star if I’m able to avoid “sir” or “miss”?

And Mr Sherman too – Paul never taught me but as a Drama teacher directed Shakespeare plays I was in – he’s very well known in Brisbane theatre circles as someone who’s been acting, inspiring, and organising since the 60s.

I’m always very chuffed to see them, and I’m sure they’ve had a positive influence on generations of Kedron High kids. We had a very good bunch of teachers – in a state high school in what was basically a lower middle class area – those three are just the most outstanding.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

I can’t remember how this started, but I call my mum “Mum” but my father “Brian” – I have a feeling before I was about 5 it used to be different – perhaps I was encouraged to call each by their first names – it was the 70s!

I think titles have been on the way out for ages. When I was first at Uni in 86, we used to call all the academics Prof X or Dr Y (or Mr M or Ms N as there were a lot from the MA as terminal degree era), but I very rarely hear academics addressed by anything other than their first name. And in customer service, when I hand over my credit card to pay for something, I always get “Mark” instead of “Mr Bahnisch”. I very occasionally encounter waitstaff who call me “sir” but I always ask them not to.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

Maybe the titles at school are a replacement for “Sir” and “Miss”, so in a sense still less formal!

James Farrell
James Farrell
14 years ago

When I entered at a high school in Brisbane (having started high school at an international school overseas), and heard ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’ I found them very comical and couldn’t bring myself to use them. I always said Mr Rigby and Mrs Mackerras. In years 11 and 12 we were allowed to use the teachers’ first names (even with the nuns). Unlike Nicholas, I found this natural and was glad of it: I wanted to be treated as an adult. Now university students call me sir, and after 15 years it still jars.