This story is written with the one thing that I believe is the key that unlocks the door to great teaching and inspired learning – that key is passion.
I would like to write about three teachers who not only inspired my learning but also influenced my life forever!
It was my first day at School – I was five years old and starting kindergarten. As I walked through the School gate – my heart pounding and my child mind full of anxious fears, it was Miss Brown, my Kindergarten teacher, who that day walked into my life and my heart. She smiled brightly, knelt down so that she could see my face, quietly told me that I was going to love school and that we were going to have so much fun together. She then gently took my hand and led me to the classroom where she introduced me to others in my class.
What made Miss Brown an Inspiring Teacher? Her obvious love for what she did best – teaching, and her absolute individual care of each of her students.
Miss Brown had the ability to make every child feel that he or she was “special”. She inspired confidence in the mind of a small child, she somehow turned our weaknesses into strengths and so our learning began and continued as she nurtured, guided, corrected, encouraged and entrusted us with the gifts she had to give – inspirational gifts that captured the mind of a child and that influenced the rest of our learning journey.
It was three years later when Mrs Harvey – Teacher of Grade 3 entered my life. She was very different in many ways to Miss Brown.
Mrs Harvey was older, quite strict – but there was something about her that quietened a room of noisy students the moment she entered. We were not afraid of her, but we did have a sort of reverent respect for her as she asked each of us a question relating to yesterday’s lesson. If we were unsure of the answer – Mrs Harvey always managed to make us feel that we had given her the perfect opportunity she needed to revise for the whole class, something that everyone may not have grasped yesterday.
Mrs Harvey was the one who encouraged us to be the best that we could be – she taught us the importance of taking pride in our work and rewarded each of us with a bright coloured dot – we were all treated the same.
I remember our first classroom open day, organised by Mrs Harvey where parents came to inspect our books – all parents looked at every child’s books so that if there was a child whose parent couldn’t come, they did not feel left out – that was the heart of Mrs Harvey.
I remember I was pigeon-toed and walked with my right foot turned in. It was Mrs Harvey who cared enough to take me aside at every break time, draw a chalk line on the cement in the playground and encouraged me to walk a straight line placing one foot carefully each side of the chalk line as I walked. Little by little under the encouraging eyes of Mrs Harvey I began to walk and run as any other child. As a child I didn’t fully understand – but as an adult I know that it is Teachers like Mrs Harvey who give of themselves to make a difference – Teachers like Mrs Harvey who inspire us so much that we want to keep learning forever.
It was then four years later when Mr Gormley – English Master at High School, entered my life. He inspired me so much that English became my favourite subject. Mr Gormley, even though older and seemingly staid, somehow managed to make what might have been the most ordinary topic come alive through the gift he gave each one of us – the freedom to be creative. With his guidance we directed our own learning, we participated in team debates around topics we ourselves selected. We presented drama plays to the rest of the School, we wrote creative stories which were read out to the class by Mr Gormley himself, in such a way that everyone’s writing was the best.
Mr Gormley was able to intrigue our inquisitive minds so that we wanted to learn more. It was Mr Gormley, who with passion for the subject he taught, inspired us to be the best we could be in both the written and oral use of the English language.
It is inspirational teachers like Mr Gormley who have the ability to help us climb to heights in learning that we never dreamt of reaching. I will be forever grateful.
Please share your inspirational stories of Teachers who have made a difference in your life.