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Thank You For The Music (Room). Wednesday August 5, 2015

We all have a favourite teacher, don't we? Look back. Remember that teacher who believed in you, when everyone else wrote you off as hopeless? Remember that teacher who went the extra mile with you? Remember that teacher who wrote on your report, "I have enjoyed having (insert your name here) in my class this year"?

Yes – we all have that teacher who was – special.

I was lucky, I can name half a dozen or more (and I may blog about them in subsequent posts), but today I want to talk about Mrs Brougham, my music teacher.

I grew up in the 1970s. Outside London and California, the 1970s was not a decade in which to be "different." Mrs Brougham and her music room provided a sanctuary for the "different".

Mrs Brougham unashamedly had favourites. If you were one of her "favourites" (and you didn't necessarily have to be good at music to qualify) then you could go to the music room in breaks and at lunch time and be assured of a sanctuary. A sanctuary from teasing, from bullying, from the constant pressure to conform, to be like the rest, to march to the beat of the communal drum.

At lunch time we would congregate, the boys and girls who would be gay (once we understood what to be gay was – at the time it was just being "different"), the terminally introverted (we didn't play well with others), the depressed, the bi-polar (we had delusions of grandeur), the shy, the dispossessed... We all had a place in the Music Room.

Even once we had moved onto the senior school (age 14-18 and 500 metres away across the no-man's land of the hockey pitches) we still had a place of sanctuary should we need it. Oh, and I did need it, frequently!

Yet, at the time, I didn't quite appreciate it, and I certainly didn't appreciate what it must have cost Mrs Brougham to keep her room as that sanctuary. I now understand the fights she must have had in the staff room, the times she must have gone head to head with our head master (a conformist, albeit a rebel conformist, if ever there was one). Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Mrs Brougham.

You taught me that it was okay to be different; that it was okay for others to be different. It meant that when I understood what it was to be gay I said, "Oh, yeah, now I understand," as opposed to, "Yeuk, that's disgusting!"

You taught me how to give others space to be different without compromising my own space. I honour you for that. Where ever you are now.

And I hope that each one of you Moodscope readers has that special someone in your life who accepts you (and others) just as you are, depressive, bi-polar, schizophrenic, alternative sexuality, ethnicity... Just. As. You. Are.

Because we all need and deserve that acceptance.

A Moodscope member.

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The Entertrainer Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 6:59am

Ah Mary, those special teachers - how we love them though may not have been able to articulate our appreciation at the time. I had two. Barabara MacKeke and Joseph Rayner... named because they deserve recognition.
What's rather nice is that I'm finding these 'teachers' out here in the grown up world too... They may not have the 'Teacher' label but they still offer outsiders and outliers like me, 'Sanctuary'.
You, Mary, are one such 'Teacher' - and I appreciate and love you.
And you are not alone on Moodscope.

Zareen Cave Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 7:15am

I loved your post Mary. I found it very helpful and encouraging.

Elizabeth Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 8:30am

This is very moving, I almost shed a tear. I love that room though I've never been there :)

Eliz Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 8:51am


Anonymous Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 9:57am

That's beautiful Mary! Both the lady and the blog. I was mid-late 30s before I experienced that acceptance but it was a great beginning for me. Always a late developer! (Except in the areas I wish hadn't developed so well/early but now I have over-shared and I'm blushing and so I will go about my business lol!) Thank you Mary, I now love Mrs Brougham too! Love ratg x.

Anonymous Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 10:19am

Surely, you're only blushing like a soft rose in the Moodscope garden, dear RATG ??....and doesn't matter how late we find the acceptance of ourself, from others - it's fantastic that you have experienced it! Love Karen ( x x x

Neil Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 10:24am

Mrs Dawson, Mrs Matheson, Miss Jane, Mrs Leach, Mr Whaler, Mr Pembleton, Miss Boyd, Mr Rooney, Miss Sanderson, Dr Daykins, Dr Scott, Dr D Limon, Dr D Limon (husband and wife) and a few more. NOT Mr Rippon, Mr Downey, Mr TED and certainly not Mr Skinner. The scars from a few seem to overcome sometimes the cherished moments from the rest.

Anonymous Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 10:24am

You were very lucky! I had good teachers but none of them was a Mrs Brougham. I was a good student and appeared in need of nothing....and i conformed with precision. Noone could see the pain and struggle going on underneath. So here's to all you wonderful teachers out there who are insightful and understanding. And thanks for the lovely blog, Mary. susan xx

Anonymous Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 12:22pm

Mary knows the score, brothers and sisters. Currently, I'd call it...Mary 1, Bigot City 0. Come on! Love, Rich x

Les Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 1:33pm

Mr McAlpine changed my life forever........he treated me as a person not a pupil and challenged me to be a Prefect.........which I did and my life shifted when I took the responsibility he had offered me........

I eventually became a local authority Chief Executive - the 2nd youngest in the UK with no degree just a passion and belief started by someone who saw something he believed in me.

He saw the EQ potential not the IQ ability....................and was an educator not a teacher.........

Thanks Mary - spot on.

Melanie Lowndes Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 1:42pm

Mary, thank you that is really really nice!

Melanie Lowndes Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 1:43pm

Mary, thank you that is really really nice!

Anonymous Wed, Aug 5th 2015 @ 4:35pm

Thank you Mary, what a lovely thing to say about your special teacher! Mine were primary teachers: Miss Enid Jones and Mrs Clarke - they were the kindest. My secondary school teachers were Mr Ward - pottery, Mrs Buse - dreaded maths and Mrs Evans - music...she introduced us to Joseph and all the wonderful songs that I am now singing in my head instead of ABBA's - thank you for the music....which I have been singing since I read your brill blog this morning! Been out all day so only just managed to get back to you now.

Mr Ward said I should go and be a teacher...especially pottery, but my parents guided me towards office sad...think I'd have made a good teacher and I'd let the
kiddlies share a room to get away from the bullies and the mischief-makers that are in every school!
I had a great respect for most of the teachers....just hated the ones who belittled me, Mr Roberts (maths again ugh!) he who enjoyed throwing the wooden board wiper at us if we couldn't understand...hence I think I am a :(
Thanks, Mary, Mary, love Karen x

Mary Blackhurst Hill Thu, Aug 6th 2015 @ 11:19am

Thank you everyone who has commented. On a day when I feel quite low it's lovely to read. Mary

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