It is said that schooldays are some the happiest days in your life, so it was for me. Although only a small Church of England establishment "Teynham" was a good school with dedicated teachers. They were not specialist in one subject, but taught all subjects for the year that was spent in their class.
We didn't have a gymnasium, workshops, computers or calculators; we didn't have a grass playing field until the orchard at the back was grubbed about 1932. We did, however, enjoy our annual educational trips to places such as theTower of London,St. Paul's Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and Regents Park Zoo. There were trips up the River Thames to Hampton Court and Windsor, and down the River to the docks, where ships from every comer of the world packed the wharfs.
The "Old School" had its scholarship winners, as well as producing successful business and trades people, and not forgetting the war heroes who gave their lives for King and Country. Mr Potts was the Headmaster when I first attended Teynham'; he later retired to 'Bradfield' the first 'new' house to be built in the Orchards of Teynham Lane.
This poem is dedicated to the teachers of my era (1929-1936):-Mrs Carpenter, Sybil Ray, Mrs Thomas, Miss Funnel , Miss Woods, Miss Aspinal, Mrs Gladys Gates, Phylis Newman, 'Sammy' Evans and, our Headmaster and mentor, Mr Alfred T, Gates, known affectionally to us young academics as 'Flimp'.
It's twenty to nine and the school bell rings
The Conyer 'bus has returned with the children it brings,
Others have walked from Greenstreet and Frognal,
Deerton Street and those more local.
Second bell rings, it's now ten to nine
Children are ushered and shuffle in line.
Hands are proffered for inspection
Those that are dirty risk a detention!
Now march into classroom still in orderly line
The clock on the wall says exactly nine,
First lesson is scripture with the Reverend Purser
Who will tell us more tales of his days in Burma.
Next on the list is arithmetic
I hope all my answers warrant a "tick',
Decimals, fractions and interest rates.....
The milkman arrives to the rattle of crates.
A quick drink of milk and then 'out to play'
To brace ourselves for the rest of the day,
Girls are skipping, some are talking,
Others running, few are walking.
Boys gather in groups around the school yard
Extolling their skills with the cigarette card,
'Ons', 'Knock downs', who flicks the farthest!
Winner takes all, these games are in earnest!
Our lesson in English we call "composition'
Subject, predicate and proposition,
When will I master my spelling and writing?
I can think of lessons far more exciting!
Home to dinner andit's ^Washday Monday'
I like cold dinners but hate "Washday Mondays'!
Windows wide open steam filled the scullery
So "I'm off back to school Mum" and leave rather hurriedly.
Geography's tales of far away places,
Africans, Asians and nomadic races,
Imports, exports and populations
Capitals, seaports and mainline stations.
There is gardening, singing, drawing and history.
Famous authors and my favourite poetry,
Snippets of Shakespear's 'Merchant of Venice'
(Just heard Fred Perry has won the tennis!)
Clock on the wall says quarter to four,
One eye on the teacher and one on the door
"Stop what you are doing, put your books away,
Good afternoon children that's all for today."
Many years have now passed and my lifes work is now done,
I can sit back in my chair to watch "Fifteen to one'
And I am amazed at questions I can answer.
What a debt owe to the 'Old School' and my master.