My favourite teacher

Miss Naughton 3

Miss Naughton’s grade 1 and 2 class, Auburn Primary School 1965. Can you pick EB?

ABC Radio National has a project going at the moment to name your favourite teacher. Many people have done so, and written moving and interesting comments about those memorable and amazing people who have such an impact on our lives. This got me thinking about all the teachers who have made a difference to me. I have a special place in my heart for my first teacher, Miss Naughton, who started teaching the year I started school, 50 years ago in 1965. She was young – she turned 21 just after we started the school year that February. I remember her telling us that it was her special day that morning, and I told mum about it at lunch time (we walked home for lunch every day). Mum sent me back to school after lunch with some flowers for her from our garden!

Miss Naughton was wonderful I thought – and I loved being at school. We would read to her every morning, and we got a stamp on a card, a pansy stamp if we read well, a dog stamp if we didn’t do so well. We did phonics, and learnt to write, and sang to the children’s radio (“wireless”) program every week. We had show and tell, and special events. We went to visit the workplaces of the parents of other children in our class – we rang our mothers from the telephone exchange, and visited the butter factory and the police station and a farm or two, plus the railway station and the post office. We went to Adelaide once – in a few parents’ cars – and when there visited the road safety centre, the zoo and a puppetry performance (‘The Tintookies’ it was called). All this was very exciting.

Puppeteer Peter Scriven with the Tintookies in 1957.

Some of the Tintookies with the puppeteer

At the end of each school year we had a concert at the local Institute Hall. Each class would put on a play. In grade one we did ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, and in grade 2 we did a very ambitious production based on a Japanese story. All the girls in the class had to wear kimonos made by our mothers. I still have mine (good grief!), and I still love the satiny fabric.

Miss Naughton 1 Miss Naughton 2

Miss Naughton was kind and encouraging and we thought her very pretty. At the start of December she introduced our class to the Advent Calendar – the first any of us knew of such things – and she had a group of statuettes of the nativity. Someone accidentally knocked the head off of one of the kings and I remember running home straight after school to get the “Bear Brand” glue – very potent stuff it was too – to take up to her so she could mend it!!
It was another time altogether (fifty years ago seems unbelievable), simpler in many ways at our small school (around 60-odd students altogether and three teachers) but for me Auburn Primary with Miss Naughton was a happy time, and I am grateful for the encouragement and care that I received there which have had a big impact on my life.

It would be lovely to hear from any of you about your favourite teachers also…

Miss Naughton 5

Miss Naughton came to my birthday party in grade 2. Very special!

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4 Responses to My favourite teacher

  1. Mandy says:

    Hi EB,
    What a wonderful story. It brought back many memories. Although we are the same age, my schooling was in the suburbs, so very different experiences.
    My favourite teacher was at the end of my school years (not the beginning like yours )
    Ms Cabot was very approachable and encouraging. I wanted to leave school as soon as it was legal (15!!) and I turned 15 in November, didn’t even wait until the end of the year.
    I remember Ms Cabot taking the time to pull me aside and attempt to convince me to stay in school and get an education.She was very gracious and I felt she was talking on my level, but I was a very strong minded 15 year old and thought I knew it all.
    I started work at Woolworth s.
    35 years later I went back to “school,” – Womens Education at Noarlunga Tafe. It was the best move I did, and I went on to do the the Flinders Foundation Course.
    I ran into Ms Cabot a few years ago – I had a contract at St Johns Grammar, being a receptionist. A temp teacher was signing in one day and I asked her name, she said Ms Cabot, I said “Oh I used to have a favourite teacher called Ms Cabot” Well I looked up and blow me down it was her. We had a very quick catch up and told her I had travelled and worked all around Australia in my youth. She said good on you, it was a great thing to do. I was so glad I educated myself in the end,
    So thanks for the bringing back the memories EB.

    • Hi Mandy,
      How lovely to hear from you. I have been thinking of you a lot but sorry to say haven’t got further than that. Fantastic to hear your story too. High school teachers have a really important role to play don’t they. I had a few nice ones then too – would love to see some snaps of little Mandy one day… Lots of love to you Mandy xxx

  2. nickypage says:

    I can pick EB in the Grade 1 pic, but not the Grade 2. What a lovely tribute to Miss Naughton, and you just capture the period and your life as a little one so well.

  3. Nicky how lovely to hear from you. Thank you! I seem to be more elusive in the grade 2 shot it’s true. A tip is that I still have the ribbon in my hair, but it is hard to see plus I also have a fringe. I am smiling very widely too. A happy day!

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