Ali Hoverstadt taught at CHS for 37 years, retiring in 2018. She was a chemistry teacher, Head of PSHE and Head of Careers.
We asked Ali about how School has changed over this time and what her plans are next.
When did you start at CHS?
In 1981. It was my first (and last) teaching placement. I remember the first time I entered the Staff room and thinking what a strange place this School was to allow students in there. I soon came to realise that the person I thought was a student was just a young-looking John le Grove!
Over the last few decades what have been the most significant changes in:
There used to be a room in the A block that had benches all around the edge with huge computers on that no one knew how to work. Plus a Banda machine that staff would rush to use in the morning - turning it by hand to make copies of worksheets. It used meths so it gave us a bit of a hit!
They have always been brilliant. I remember before my interview asking a family friend who was a CHS parent for any hints and tips. All she said was to try the apple crumble as it was fantastic. On the day Mike Davies took me to lunch and luckily it was apple crumble day - it was delicious, and still is.
In winter the boys could wear black polo necks to keep warm - they reminded me of the Milk Tray man!
The onus has altered as society has changed and children’s attention spans have become shorter. Lessons need to keep children entertained, and teachers guide them to be more responsible for their own learning, rather than giving knowledge. The kids are still fantastic though.
Which colleagues made your time at CHS extra special over the years?
When I started I was the youngest member of staff by 9 years. Maggie Evans, Pat Ball and Lynda Parkin took me under their wings and made me feel at home. Mike Davies, my first Head of Department, was the kindest, most generous and definitely most energetic man. While Pete Northfield, a fellow chemistry teacher, was super organised - useful for borrowing ideas and worksheets from in my NQT year! Two colleagues that became my female role models were Liz Passmore (Head of Biology) and Joy Pilkington (Senior Mistress). Joy was the most fantastic mentor - kind, caring, and supportive. An unbelievable and often underrated woman.
What are your plans for retirement?
You’ll find me in my allotment, speaking to my vegetables! I’ll most likely have cycled there and will be quite happy sitting among my veg, doing a crossword and drinking gin. I hope to do something a little more adventurous at some point but after a lifetime of timetables I’m looking forward to not having to live by one.