PUBLISHED: 11:49 28 February 2008 | UPDATED: 13:01 06 May 2010
SIR, — I read with interest and great sympathy of the closing of the Jubilee Centre in Catherine Street, St Albans. I was particularly drawn to Mary Beerbohm s sentence when she describes teaching six to eight people round a large table in what might hav
SIR, - I read with interest and great sympathy of the closing of the Jubilee Centre in Catherine Street, St Albans. I was particularly drawn to Mary Beerbohm's sentence when she describes teaching six to eight people round a large table "in what might have been the school hall".
This was back in October 1987, 21 years ago. I joined my brother as a teacher at Garden Fields School, now the Jubilee Centre, in 1952. Readers who attended at that time may just remember the Sidnell twins who taught them.
They were great days in the old-fashioned sense of the word. We were formal enough to teach the children their tables and for them to take home lists of spellings to learn. Readers who went to Garden Fields in the fifties will certainly remember dear old Miss Hall with great affection. When she retired she had the privilege of being the oldest serving teacher in Herts. In those far away times there were five masters on the staff, besides the headmaster, Mr Charles Green. Interestingly, four of which became headmasters themselves.
I smile when I read of all the restrictions these days on what teachers can do or say to their charges. Much of it is to the good I am sure, but somehow we may have lost some of the sparkle and thrill of being a teacher. I well remember Miss Hall's Christmas play which came from the pages of the 1922 edition of "Child Education". Any member of the staff could act as prompter so well known was the script. As there was no way to the far end of the school hall other than through the double doors which opened onto the playground, the seven-year-olds in her class, dressed as Christmas fairies or elves, were lined up in the darkness of the playground ready to make their entrance as soon as the previous play had finished. One could sympathise with those children standing in the freezing, pitch-dark playground waiting for their entry cue. The hall was packed with enthusiastic parents, eager to see their young offspring perform. I am quite sure nothing of this nature would be allowed today, but I have to say it was accepted then with great admiration and delight by their proud parents.
Hordle Gardens, St Albans.