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News > Alumni News > Staff Leavers > Staff Leavers 2018: Bob Clarke

Staff Leavers 2018: Bob Clarke

Bob Clarke (78-18S)
Bob Clarke (78-18S)
Bob Clarke may well have been the Rev. George Ridding's final appointment to the teaching staff.  He was certainly fairly new in post when I started in January 1979.  

It quickly became clear that George had chosen well because Bob brought a lively approach to the subject and treated the boys (no girls then) with a good mix of energetic enthusiasm, firmness and good humour.  He had gained their respect in a short time.  

When I took potential parents around the school, a class carrying out a chemistry practical under his supervision was always a highlight:  brewing beer apparently had much academic relevance!

Michael Downward 79-97S


Bob Clarke: ‘rude, disobedient and impossible to manage’. 

Apparently, all great characteristics of a brilliant teacher.

It wasn’t until the Sixth Form that I was actually taught by Bob. Lower down the school, I tried to avoid him, having heard about his various nicknames for people. It was only when I came to be in his class that I discovered his more caring side, albeit hidden behind the banter. 

He would often leave the lesson, mid-sentence, continuing to talk, answer the department telephone, only to return to the room as if we had heard everything.

I vividly remember an assembly that he took. It was quite clear that he’d only discovered he was taking the assembly that morning and in his panic, went to the library and grabbed the first book he saw. 
The book was ‘Farmer Duck’. 

The assembly involved him reading this children’s book to the whole school, with constant terrible 
impressions of all the characters. I’m not sure why this has been etched on my memory; either because 
I was shocked at the sight of a teacher making an absolute fool of himself quacking and oinking, or 
because I respected the teaching techniques that he somehow managed to draw from this book!

A passion for teaching chemistry and cutting his own routine, he will remain a huge part of my 
memories of my time at West Buckland and a large part of the school community. 

I wish him all the best in his retirement, although I can’t see him missing out on school lunches too often!

Alice Lancaster (05-12F)

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