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In the news - Gordon Youd

Who is he?

Gordon Youd, a teacher at Wirral Grammar School for Boys, has just celebrated his 74th birthday. Having retired twice already, he can't seem to stay away from the classroom. Next summer, he will be celebrating 50 years of teaching at the school, which he attended as a child.

Why spend so long at the chalkface?

"I enjoyed geography and geology and as I got older I found the subjects fascinating, especially geology," he says. "As a pupil at Wirral Grammar School for Boys I had an inspirational geography teacher. I received two scholarships and went on to study at Liverpool University, where I was really inspired by the lecturers."

He must have seen some changes, eh?

"There was definitely more freedom in the old days, the teacher could go in the direction he or she wants. Nowadays there are more formalised lessons, and I am happy to go down that line. However, if I have had any benefit as a teacher, it is doing it my way in my earlier days of teaching."

What kept him at the same school?

"I joined the school after bumping into the school secretary shortly after completing my masters degree, and they needed a geography teacher. I received various promotions in the first 10 years and I was soon senior master. I get a satisfaction in the work I'm doing as it's a great school. What is the point of jumping off the nice cosy bandwagon?"

So he just couldn't give it up?

"I retired in July 2000. After a day or two I was asked to replace the head of geography at nearby Calday Grange Grammar School. After a year I thought I'd finished when Wirral Boys asked me back. I feel I could see the current lower sixth through the upper sixth year; I would be happy to retire in 18 months."

There must have been some lows?

"The down sides are the constant changes taking place in teaching - many of them are not for the better. I like the kind of relationship you make with the senior boys, when they start geology in Year 10. The banter that takes place and the spirit of young people keeps you active."

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