My grade six teacher Mr Anstis was by far the most memorable teacher I had during my 13 years of state schooling. He wasn’t a permanent teacher, only showing up when a permanent teacher was sick or on holidays. He always taught grade five and above, so I’d had him a few times by the time grade six rolled around in 1997. I thought about him a lot when he was on supply at other schools. What if he never comes back? I’d worry. Eventually he’d show up, even if it was only for a day or two here or there and everyone attempted to avoid him on playground duty because he never stopped shouting at kids the whole lunch hour! He had zero tolerance, so everyone in my class wasn’t sure how the rest of our year would pan out when he was appointed as our permanent teacher after our existing teacher bailed on us.
Mr Anstis was the coolest teacher I ever had. He was an adventurer because of his novel approach to learning, discipline and to living life. He marked our work with dollar values in place of scores out of ten or twenty. We used the money we earned for our work to chalk up our net worth on a board at the front of the room. He read us stories that he had written himself and encouraged us to be creative and original. He spoke with passion about being a writer and the things you could do if you applied yourself and used your imagination. He was the strictest teacher I had during primary school, but never spiteful. He certainly never used discipline to hurt any of us, which was contrary to the way many other teachers behaved. We all liked and respected him and rarely did any of us step out of line.
In everyday life he was free-spirited and lived in the moment, doing things that no other teacher would dare to do. As I got older I saw him around town here and there. His big personality on display, I’d watch him laughing and joking with someone over a game of pool in the pub. I don’t know what became of him though. I really hope he continued to be the same awesome teacher that I’d known all those years ago.
See what I’ve done here? Even though this page is meant to be about people who aren’t me, I’ve been able to twist it around to make it about me! Clever hey…or…maybe just really annoying and narcissistic. Oh well, no time for caring, gotta go check the mirror.