Remarkable stories of Bromley classrooms revealed in former teacher’s book
PUBLISHED: 13:08 07 March 2017
Peter Foster has written about his time teaching in the borough
A former Bromley school teacher has lifted the lid on life in the classroom with his latest book.
Now retired and living in Tenterden, Kent, with his wife Francien, former PE, history and geography teacher Peter Foster decided to pen his experiences over the years to give an insight into the ups and downs of the teaching profession.
As Mr Foster explains: “I started teaching in the 1970s, and very quickly I started jotting down lots of what I considered to be funny incidents and memories over the years.
“Even now when I visit Bromley I still bump into the occasional 50-year-old ex-pupil on the street.”
Most of the memoirs include eccentric and unusual incidents involving both staff and pupils - including the time he nearly burnt down Quernmore School, a former secondary modern for boys. The former London Lane site is now home to the Parish Church of England Primary School before it closed in the early 1980s.
The author explains: “One of the most standout memories during my teaching career was how Quernmore Boys school had to be evacuated after I nearly started a fire.
“I was teaching in a geography lesson in the one of the top rooms of the school and at the same time there were builders repairing the roof.
“They had gone for lunch, and I was soon to discover that one of them had left a blowtorch on.
“My pupils were in the middle of the test, before one of them raised their hands and said they could smell smoke.
“Naturally, I thought they were playing a game, and another pupil even came over to me to say they could see smoke coming through the ceiling.
“I thought it was just dust, and eventually investigated by standing on a table and peering my head through a hatch on the ceiling to prove I was right.
“Opening the hatch fuelled the fire, so I jumped off the desk, pointed towards the fire bell and the whole school had to be evacuated.
“I walked round very shamed face that day, with a burnt hand and singed hair.”
After a brief spell teaching at schools in Peckham and Battersea, Mr Foster first began teaching in Bromley at Quernmore School in 1974. He would spend 10 years at the school becoming head of PE and teaching geography and history, before arriving at Ravensbourne School in 1984. There he would also teach the same subjects, before he spent the final years of his teaching career working in the special needs department until retiring in 2008.
In one of the chapters, Mr Foster recalls showing up a difficult pupil at Ravensbourne known as Jason who would often disrupt his history lessons by slipping into street talk and rapping.
He said: “After he got into a tirade by knocking down a chair, I jumped out of my seat, pulled out a baseball cap turning it round and leaning it on the side in move I had seen in an Eminem video.
“I strode over to him and said, ‘You’re vexing me Jason! Bro, I don’t like you dissing my lesson!’ before clicking my fingers, folding my arms and staring him out.
“There was a few moments of silence and then the whole class erupted into laughter.”
Although now living in Kent, Mr Foster still regularly visits Bromley to see his children and grandchildren - with his grandson a pupil at Ravensbourne School.
His book Five Minutes Hot...Five Minutes Cold... is available to buy online from Amazon and Waterstones.