Last week, FISCA organised teacher appreciation day at all the campuses. The tables were groaning with the vast numbers of cakes and other treats which certainly went down well with all the staff, so thank you! It got me thinking about teachers from my lifetime whom I really appreciated.
I remember three in particular. My first one was Miss Janney who was my year 1 teacher. Bear in mind this was the mid-60s! She was strict, though she never raised her voice. She was caring, though she never hugged anyone. She expected high standards, though she was always understanding of various abilities. She helped me learn to read and gave me my first taste of leadership when she gave me the elevated status of milk and biscuit monitor! I soon learnt that with that great power to give extra milk and biscuits to my friends came great responsibility! A huge lesson for life!
The second was my year 5 and 6 teacher, Mr Charlesworth. He taught his class of 45 students with a great sense of humour. He made us laugh and made us learn. He had fun games and inculcated in me two key loves of my life: reading and sport. I still vividly remember him reading to an enraptured class. In our football lessons he always played against us and always scored the winning goal. In fact, we couldn’t go home until he did! He made us into a very good football team, unbeaten during two seasons. It gave us this huge confidence which then inspired us to apply to our studies. We took that spirit into the classroom. During the summer holidays a group of boys would go to his house and sit and watch cricket on the TV with him and his wife. I guess unthinkable these days. Sadly, he passed away in an accident. However, his memory lives on as he was a huge influence on me and many of my friends.
The third one was my history teacher, Mr Morton. He gave me a great love of history. He had some great stories, a dry sense of humour and also loved his sport. It was because of him that I went into teaching. When I first started out it was Mr Morton that I tried to emulate and it was Mr Morton who gave me inspiration when I needed it most. He maintained effortless discipline though his lessons were not always the most entertaining. But he had it-whatever it is, factor X, a special chemistry. The joy is that these three educational giants were so hugely different, yet shared the same fundamental tenets. They cared about us as people, they wanted the best for us, they developed in us a sense of wonder about the world and crucially, they believed in what they were doing. It was because of them I saw what an amazing vocation teaching is and believe me when I tell you 'teaching really is rocket science!'