Today is #WorldTeachersDay. We love the idea of teachers being celebrated worldwide, and with the tie-in of #ThankATeacherUK, it really got me thinking about my own teachers and how they influenced my friends and I.
My primary school was a fun place to be and learn. The school hall was the venue for many memorable moments. We often had the gym equipment out and the games we played still resonate today. Independent theatre companies visited and performed plays such as ‘Selkie’ while Netball and Environmental Club kept us active and informed after school.
My first Head Teacher used to stand behind the curtain in the main assembly hall with a monkey puppet and deliver a good portion of the assembly through the puppet’s mouth. I can only remember a handful of children who were “too cool” to laugh. After listening about the forthcoming events of the week, we would always finish every assembly with a song about the environment – this was our school anthem. I can still remember it to this day. I did a lot and learned a lot in that assembly hall.
Of course I had moments at primary school which I didn’t enjoy. There was one teacher that never seemed to be as “fun” as the other teachers. She used to make you rewrite your entire story again if you spelt more than 5 words wrong. That said, I would like to thank her because she taught me to strive for perfection and not to give up.
The same teacher was also an ‘Eco Warrior’ and came up with the school anthem about the environment. She also ran an Eco-Club at lunch times and I recall helping her plant flowers and trees, making willow tunnels for us to play in and even entering the school into a competition to win a wind turbine.
When I walk past my school now I can still see the trees we planted and the willow tunnels. I still try to be as eco-friendly as possible at all times because she taught me to be like that.
I had a teacher in Year 6 who used to let us “skive off” for the afternoon on a Friday so that we could prepare and perform for a talent show. We were allowed to be in groups or perform by ourselves. I remember writing a musical for my friends and I to perform. It was absolutely awful and made no sense at all. We actually used songs from an Alice Cooper album mixed in with Green Day. However, we still got a round of applause at the end and our teacher thought it was wonderful.
We often thought she just couldn’t be bothered to work on a Friday afternoon but now I realise that she was teaching us self-confidence and creativity. Perhaps the talent show was actually her way of letting us discover what we were actually good at – an opportunity to shine.
Eventually it was time for “big school” – I genuinely loved secondary school, it was the best time of my life and I didn’t want to leave. To be completely honest, all of my teachers there were amazing – even if I didn’t think so at the time. For example, when they were putting red pen all over the work I had worked on for hours or threatening to write a note home because I was late or didn’t do my homework. I realise now that it was for my own good.
My teachers all had different personalities and qualities that I grew to admire. I vividly recall my fabulous English Literature teacher in Year 10 and 11 who never wore the same outfit twice and could silence the room with one tiny movement of her hand.
We had a fantastic choice of extra-curricular activities too, thanks to the commitment and talents of the teachers – as evidenced by others in #WorldTeachersDay. We had everything from Science Club to football to choose from, both at lunchtimes and after school. Our PE department even used to arrange annual skiing trips for older students.
In PE we were given choices – my school believed in giving children a choice. One summer, our PE teacher took us to do cross country where we ran on a track that overlooked my entire hometown. He would supervise us as we ran the course and motivate us all the way. Even the people who did not usually enjoy PE appreciated the fresh air, the view, and the encouragement. I particularly enjoyed it when he took us to the field and we played rounders because that was my absolute favourite game to play, even if I got a little too competitive at times.
The teacher from secondary school I remember most though was my English Language teacher. I had him most of the way through school. He was a quiet man with quite a serious face. He didn’t smile much and used to read plays in weird voices to emulate the characters (which we all found most amusing). It was obvious that he had faith in our class and he believed in me. He saw something in the way that I wrote. He never said anything specific to me throughout classroom work, but he was Head of the English Department and every time he created a display in the English Block, you could guarantee my work would be up on the wall, even to the point where my friends used to make fun of me. He even requested to have some “select students” work from the whole school to be in the library and mine made it up there with peers that were in older years. In creative writing I always had a darker edge to my stories, but he never once told me to change it.
On my last day of school, he told me that he loved the way that I wrote. He told me he always enjoyed reading and marking my work and I realised I had always enjoyed writing and being creative via pen and paper. I realised that I wanted to pursue this and even though I had already chosen English Language as an option at Sixth Form I was thinking about dropping it to do Psychology after the first term.
If it wasn’t for that particular teacher I wouldn’t have chosen the options I chose, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to make the choices I made to get to where I am today and could have gone down a completely different path. But it’s not fair to credit just one teacher. Every single teacher who taught me has shaped me in some way or another. They taught me more than just one specific subject. I don’t really remember all the specifics about how The Romans revolutionised the health system, but I do remember my history teacher taught us a lot about life and was the best Head of Year you could ask for – and believe me, he put up with a lot from my year.
As I’m getting older, I know teachers personally as friends and sometimes I wonder if they realise the impact they have on children, the lessons they teach, the way they teach them, the things they say and do – and I know they work hard every day of the week (including weekends and holidays).
So to all those teachers out there, YOU are making a difference – every lesson, every day, every term – you are personally shaping people’s lives and one day, a lot of your students will thank you, just like I am thanking mine now. #ThankaTeacherUK
Tyler at Team Tagtiv8