CHRIS’S TEENAGE CANCER JOURNEY – PART 3 – THE RICHARD THAT COULDN’T TEACH

By 2010 I was in year 10 at Rainford High and starting my GCSE’s which seemed nothing but a waste of my time-or so I thought. We got to choose 4 subject options as well as the mandatory and I opted for art-because it was piss easy-,physical education, woodwork-because the wouldn’t let me do bricklaying-and business studies.

Business studies was probably the only one I held to some value as I planned on going into the family business: a small building company that had been passed down through generations starting with my grandad in 1978. I was quite looking forward to it at first. I was intrigued as to how small to medium sized businesses operated and I needed to know really.

When I met the teacher though I quickly changed my mind and wanted out. For the sake of privacy I’ll refer to her as Mrs Jones.  She was a tall woman with blonde hair and a snotty attitude who claimed to be a GCSE business studies teacher. In my eyes she was nothing of the sort. In the first few lessons she explained how she was an ‘experienced business woman’ who’d ran several business’- yeah to the ground, I thought. As you’ve probably guessed I fucking hated her and I had to resist the urge to piss myself when she told us her butty shop had gone bust. ‘How can she teach business studies when she can’t even run a butty shop’ I remarked to my one of my closest mates Matty, who was in the same class.

I had good reason for not liking her though and if I’m honest I didn’t hate her from the get-go, it was only a month or two in when she started showing her true colours that I really changed my mind. It takes a lot for me to dislike someone let alone hate them. By year ten I was calm and calculated and I had no need to ‘kick off’ so to speak, and she was pretty much the only teacher I disliked, all the others I got on with great. Without going into too much detail here’s an example;

By the end of the 2011 school year-so late spring to mid-summer-we were all studying for exams and assessments and a few of us decided to go to these revision classes after school had finished with yes, you guessed it Mrs Jones.

The revision sessions were being held at her classroom in the A block-should have been called the cardboard block as it was made out of partitioned containers that were only put there on temporary basis but ended up there til they rebuilt the entire school two years later, when I was long gone. Mrs Jones had ‘bus duty’ or so she said. It basically involved escorting kids to the busses when they arrived. The funny thing was she was lying to me and the rest of the class and when I suspected something I soon went into pink panther mode and sussed her out as the liar she was-and I hate liars.

As the classroom in the A block was on the first floor and south facing, it overlooked the whole bus queuing area and the temporary car park that had been created to make room for the first phase of construction that was starting, so in short I could see exactly what was going on down there and I could see where and what Mrs Jones was up to. I located her and followed her with my eyes out the window one day and what I saw only served to confirm my suspicions. She wasn’t doing bus duty but in-fact sneaking off for a smoke for a good 20-30 mins whilst all of us lot were waiting for her like mugs. This made me hate just that little bit more-not that I really needed any reason too anyway.

I let Matty and the rest of my mates in on it so from thereafter we all watched laughing as she did it time and time again over the months. What made us all laugh even more was that she was completely clueless that she’d sussed her out and she’d often remark things like ‘sorry the 352 bus was late again today’.

When I told my dad he laughed but my mum didn’t see the funny side of it. On my last parent evening before I was to leave school for good, I took my dad along and we had a slot booked in with the liar and her trainee teacher- who was quite the opposite actually, a lovely scouser who didn’t lie to us.

She was quick to try to shoot me down in front of my dad saying things like I was ‘distracting the class’ and ‘asking stupid questions’. It didn’t work though as I’d already told my mum and dad about her attitude problems with me and a few others in the class and the whole bus malarkey so he soon shut her up calling her inadequate at teaching-which she was-and that we’d all caught her out sneaking off for a fag. I didn’t really have to say anything so I just left her with a great big grin on my face as if to say ‘you shouldn’t play with fire, dickhead’

I did get on with every teacher apart from her so it obviously wasn’t me was it and as far as I know I heard she was still teaching  just a year or two ago-such a shame for the other kids really as I’d hoped she’d of been sacked.

It was in my last few years in school that I first went skiing with my family. The first resort went was called Alp Duez in the French Alps mountain range. Some of you might have heard of as it’s famous for its 21 bends road that’s featured on a mountain stage of the Tour De France.

It was a lovely resort full of dark brown log cabins, expensive restaurants and massive big mountain slopes that looked incredibly picturesque like they belonged only on a postcard. I went with my Mum, Dad and two sisters and it was a change for all of us as we only usually did the camping and caravanning in the summer.

We all started in ski school as all but my dad had never skied before. At first I found it difficult but after two days there I picked it up very quickly and was soon doing blue and red runs just a few days in(blue and red runs are the intermediate runs with green being the easiest and black being the hardest).  I actually enjoyed it more than golf, which seemed impossible considering my love for golf. I think it was more the adrenaline of it all and the fact that you couldn’t hit bad shots in skiing, and nobody likes hitting bad shots, just ask my dad! [Laughing emoji]

Funnily enough I actually got lost that first time and me and my family spent an afternoon trying to find each other. We did in the end and it was a lesson learnt, we would take walkie talkies the next time.

I returned home from Alp Duez that week with yet another new sport that I fell in love with very quickly.

I returned to skiing the following year but this time to a resort called Flaine, France which was like a concrete resort-very ugly but the skiing was even better than I found in Alp Duez.  Things were going well at school-apart from the dickhead- and things were going well at golf too. I’d got my handicap down to around 12 by the time I’d left school which I felt was a good achievement in just a few years that I had been playing.

I even got picked as junior captain in 2012, the year I was leaving school, and I was captaining the junior team even though I was about 4th best in terms of handicap. I really enjoyed it though and I gained a bit more a profile up at the club for it. I knew everyone or everyone knew me, one of the two.

Once I was playing with my uncle mike and he said on the way round ‘do you know everyone round here’. I did know 90% of the membership-not by first name though; I just knew the faces that always made the effort to talk to me. There was a stark difference compared with when I’d joined 5 years earlier were many would give the new junior the cold shoulder. I think a lot of my mates at the club were slightly envious of my popularity at the club but I felt they all just wanted to talk to me because I had time for them, unlike some of the others and I could hold up a good conversation with most, something I’d developed whilst at the club.

I left Rainford High School in May 2012 with 8 GCSE’s and a fresh goal in mind. As much as I’d disliked the last few years of school it was still sad to be saying goodbye to a lot of nice people including some of the good teachers and I never thought I’d ever say that.

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