I really enjoyed being a teacher. I was a qualified furniture
designer and cabinet maker. My skills in 'woodwork' helped me
to open so many doors in education. To the pupils in my care
I was able to introduce - History, Geography, Art and Design
with 'wood' being the starting point. I took them from the known
to the unknown; from the wood bench-top to the trees being felled
in the forests of Finland.
Abel Street School
The headmaster often came into my classroom/workshop, and
on this occasion I suppose he was as keen as the pupils to hear
about the morning's activities at Manchester Road railway station.
As he entered the workshop all the boys stood smartly to attention,
you could have heard a panel-pin drop.
"Sit down please," he said in a voice of
authority that headmasters always seem to have, "carry
on Mr Hanna."
He walked round the room to see what the boys were doing
and then took a seat and listened to my lesson. He later confessed
to me that he had been told that little practical woodwork was
being taught in my classes and that I spent most of my time talking
to my pupils. Needless to say his visits to my lessons soon proved
to him the value of my teaching techniques and often I had two
extra students in my history and art classes the headmaster and
the janitor. But introducing the use of films into the classroom
was not met with official approval. I knew, however, if I was
to bring the outside world into the classroom - and there was
no television in those days my interest in film making would
provide the key to open new doors.
I had of ten been told that 'a picture was worth a thousand
words'. A friend of mine had a camera and could show moving pictures
in his home. After watching some of his 'movies', I was determined
to have one of those movie-cameras. If I had such a camera I
could show films, in the classroom, of people and places and
make the lessons come more to life; this I felt would be better
than 'chalk and talk'. As I dwelt on the idea I had a feeling
of exhilaration and for the next fifty years the feeling remained.
My pioneering days, of 'filming for education:, had begun. I
was to meet fierce opposition, but my father s example taught
me to fear no man, if I considered I was in the right.