Memories of 'Sheffield's Mrs Doubtfire' - a tough but popular teacher with a caring side

Some of my early school memories are that of Ellesmere Primary School in Pitsmoor, where I was a pupil in the early 1970s.

The teacher I remember most was Mrs Kubiack, my class teacher. She was a formidable lady with a strong Scottish accent, ever so slightly like Mrs Doubtfire, and just as much fun.

I recently found out that the reason for her surname was that she married a Polish serviceman who served in the Second World War, and settled in Sheffield.

Ellesmere Nursery and First School, Maxwell Street, Sheffield, May 3, 1989

I find this, and stories like it fascinating, it would have been nice to have had the presence of mind to ask some questions back then.

Sadly neither are with us now, it would have been nice to hear their stories.

As I said, formidable, but also had a softer human side I‘m sure she didn’t intend to show us.

One morning after the morning bell had rung.

The Duke of Cambridge visits Tarmac's national skills and safety park to officially open the centre. The Duke of Cambridge laying down some tarmac.

We all went into class for registration,at first our teacher wasn't visible.

Then we looked a little closer and Mrs Kubiack had hidden herself behind the cupboard door in the corner of the classroom.

She was very upset, she was quietly weeping to herself, this was very shocking to me, and the other pupils I suspect, I’ve clearly never forgotten it.

I remember going next door to tell another teacher,who came to her aid.

Later that morning we learned that Mrs Kubiack’s daughter’s friend had passed away, and Mrs Kubiack’s emotions had overtaken her.

Although not on the curriculum Mrs Kubiack taught us a valuable lesson, everyone can succumb to emotions - even teachers.

I still have vivid memories of that school even though it was so long ago.

Our school was an inner city school without a blade of grass.

Play areas were asphalt, you learned not to fall down very quickly.

On this particular summer's day we were sent out to play for morning break, as normal we were dashing around the schoolyard as 7 year old’s do.

We were playing on the newly tarmacked playground. The ground was as black as coal, and as smooth as a baby’s bum.

I don’t know why, I can only conclude the mixture wasn’t quite right, or wasn't given enough time to set, the warm sunny weather or a combination of all three.

But the ground was soft, very soft. It didn’t take long five,six, or seven-year-olds to notice.

The ground had little pools of tar, the soft shiny type just asking you to shove a lolly pop stick or finger into.

I remember one of the girls wearing a bright yellow cardigan -just asking for trouble.

When we realised you scoop the tarmac up and roll them into balls, or we could also make holes of varying sizes to play marbles, we were ‘as happy as Larry’ as they say.

When the teachers released the situation there was a mini panic, everyone was rushed inside and some kind of spirit or solvent appeared from nowhere, and we were thoroughly scrubbed.

The yard had to be relayed, I always wondered who had to pay for that?