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My father 's performance at primary and high school was admirable, in a sense. He achieved the most enjoyable teacher comments I have ever read. You may wonder why he was never suspended. Some say it was the fact that his father, my grandfather, was the highest contributor of school fees during a very lean period in Australian economic history. I say it was his irresistable ability to entertain.

Here is a sample of some of the greats:

Name: Martin Greenspan || Location: St Matthew's Boy's Primary School || Master: Brother Leonard McMullins || Discipline: Mathematics || Year Level: 5 || 12th December, 1944.

Grade: F

Comment: Martin is the worst student that I have ever had, and I have been teaching for over thirty-two years. On numerous occasions he has delighted in destroying all class structure by means of bringing to class small animals and various childish devices. No less than forty times this semster I have had to send Martin to the Head Brother's Office. No means of mental or physical punishment appear to have any bearing whatsoever on his personal resolve. I have, therefore, recommended that Martin undertake the year five level of study again next year.

With respect to Martin's studies, he failed to complete any assessment items, including all homework and both examinations.

Name: Martin Greenspan || Location: Marist Brothers Catholic Secondary School || Subject: English Language || Form: 1st || Roll Call Group: 16A || Teacher: Brother Alistair Mayfield || Date: 20th December, 1946

Mark: 23%
Grade: F-

Comment: As I discussed in the parental consultation at the beginning of this term, Martin lacks all of the qualities that we desire in our students. He is rude; he is late; he presents poorly; he disturbs every student in his class (and other classes); he performs most unsatisfactorily in class work; his homework is never done; and he seems to delight in the misfortune of others. I have recommended that serious action should be taken with regard to this child. No effort by me or any other master at this institution has thusfar been able to enduce the desired effect. Again, this semester, Martin has failed English.

The 'delighting in the misfortune of others' incident that the poor man refers to was when my father, quite deliberately, put thumb tacks on the teachers desk when he knew very well that the teacher would slap the desk with his hand when angry. Of course, dad couldn't help but laugh as tears came to the brother's eyes, but he assures me he was never actually caught for placing the tacks there.

This chap was quite a placid fellow:

Name: Martin Greenspan || Location: Marist Brothers catholic Secondary School || Subject: Chemistry || Form: 1st || Roll Call Group: 16A || Teacher: Brother Herbert Reece Greystone || Date: 19th December, 1946.

Mark: 41%
Grade: F (CP)

Comment: Unfortunately, Martin was unable to pass this unit. Despite his ability to experiment quite well with the class equipment, many activities were outside the boundaries of the course offered by Marist Brothers this term. I would encourage more disciplinary action to be taken with respect to Martin's homework completion rate. I have recommended a conditional pass, which will allow Martin to further enhance his experimental knowledge of chemistry.

The following year, dad's chemistry teacher didn't have quite the same opinion.

Name: Martin Greenspan || Location: Marist Brothers catholic Secondary School || Subject: Chemistry || Form: 2nd || Roll Call Group: 16A || Teacher: Brother Donald James Seebohm || Date: 17th December, 1947.

Mark: 11%
Grade: F

Comment: What is unfathomable about this young man is that he was able to enter this course in the first place. I have strongly recommended that Martin be unable to particpate in this discipline at this school again.

It was at the beginning of 1948 that my father's mother died tragically in a train crash. This changed my father who left South Australia and went to a a private boarding school in Sydney. He quite remarkably managed to top his graduating year and went on to gain a PhD in BioChemisty at The University of Sydney. He now works as a research chemist with a top American Pharmaceuticals firm.

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