Rate My Teacher

WordPress recently asked us to write about our least favourite teacher. I more or less covered this a year or so ago when I wrote a post about a savage beating I got from a psychotic git when I was about ten, so I don’t feel like doing that again.
So I’m going to write about one of my favourite teachers, the one who most encouraged my interest in writing. My economics teacher.
I’m not sure how I ended up picking Economics as a subject, I can only assume that the other two choices must have been something like Olde Latin and Marine Psychology. I have no real interest in economics and must confess (since I know the Tinkids never read this, I don’t want them to think it’s a good idea) that I left the Leaving Cert exam with half-an-hour to go – not because I was finished, but because I was bored. Half way through some sentence about currency devaluation or something I suddenly thought “I know I’ve done enough to pass, I’m going home“, and just stopped writing and left.
If I was that bored when writing for my academic future you can imagine the degree of excitement with which I had looked forward to economics homework essays. One evening we were asked to write about economies of scale and how bigger shops could afford to underprice smaller ones, and I wrote a story about the owner of a little corner shop, describing his feelings as one by one his old customers deserted him and headed off to shopping centres, leaving him struggling.
I handed it in and, to my surprise, got the comment “good work” and a B. That was enough to get me started.
I can’t remember everything I wrote from then on, of course, but if there was any way at all of straying off the topic of economics then I took it. I do remember one where I tried to list “supermarket”, “megastore” and “hypermarket” in order of size. A task of watching adverts on TV and guessing at the thinking behind each one (a game I often still play) led to a tale set in a truly heartless marketing company.
And each week he graded it, sometimes highly, sometimes not. At a Parent-Teacher Meeting he told my mum and dad that he gave me high scores as long as there was at least some thought relating to economics behind the stories. He told them though, that he loved reading them and really looked forward to them each week.
He moved not long after I left, becoming School Principal somewhere nearer to where he lived. I was going to say that he’s probably retired now, but we didn’t realise then how young and how close to our age our teachers really were, so perhaps he isn’t.
Anyway, his name is Dominic McQuilllan. I owe him a lot.


5 thoughts on “Rate My Teacher

  1. Tilly Bud

    What grade did you get in your exam?

    Can you point me in the direction of the post you referred to?

    Is this comment starting to feel like an exam?

  2. Patti

    That’s the kind of story that teachers (and pretty much everyone else) need to hear, so they know how important their words are – how much what seems like a small part of a conversation can mean to someone else. Thanks for sharing it. Turning your essays into stories was a bold move as a student (even though it was also a bored move) and it’s fabulous that the teacher recognized the creativity in it.


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