Mr Bott

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The Three Degrees

Although I had never felt particularly favoured or privileged whilst doing my English lessons at school, because almost certainly suffering from dyslexia, in my last couple of years at seniors, I was in Mr Bott’s class along with some of my friends, and so it was something nice even before it started.
Mr Bott was small in stature, thin moustache and glasses, and thinning on top. He also wore a brown suit which was nylon; I don’t know it must have been the fashion then, or maybe it was an English trend! Mr Bott seemed a severe and serious kind of man, one who didn’t joke much. But his classroom was the only one in the school which was not graffiti strewn. Normally, desks were more graffiti than wood, and you came away feeling decidedly unclean after having been anywhere in the vicinity of one. It’s a wonder no one ever caught bubonic plague from the damn things. And the other thing was, was that there was quiet in the lessons of Mr Bott. It might well seem a strange thing to comment on, but it was nonetheless very, very unusual in my school days.
So, I have no idea to whether Mr Bott was or wasn’t a good or bad teacher, but the mere fact that I could hear what he was saying without him having to shout, and fight for silence, meant I was able to follow what he was saying, and the lesson. And I really enjoyed English for exactly this reason. Such a joy just being able to do what I suppose was just normal run-of-the-mill activities.
However, there was indeed another side to Mr Bott. I remember at the school Christmas show one year, he and two other male teachers, Mr Hope a PE teacher and another whose name escapes me completely for the moment, dressed up in drag to do ‘The Three Degrees’ singing ‘When Will I See You Again’ to the sheer elation of the audience.
He also allowed some of my friends into the TV room of a wet winter lunchtime, to ‘help’ him record programs off the TV, and keep them in the dry; I normally went home for lunch if I wasn’t in band or orchestra practice.
I remember once though, one of the older bullies, a real hard-nut threw an egg at his window one morning, whilst we were having our lesson, obviously trying to intimidate in a provocative manner. Plainly in retaliation for something or other, which one can only presume had happened between them. I don’t know if Mr Bott was frighten or not, it couldn’t have been that nice having some 16 year old nutter athirst for your blood. I remember he went outside with a damp cloth and cleaned it; much in the same way he would clean any desk with petrol that anyone had unbeknown graffitied on.
I would have left it to the caretaker to handle. He probably knew best. He was a good old stick.

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