Source: Times Online

I still remember her. Tania Oldman (Mrs Oldman to me) came from New Zealand to teach my final year class at primary school. I was 10 years old and had never met someone like her before. She listened to us all, and was firm but fair. She was inspiring, but determined to push us to do things to the best of our ability. She taught me that it’s not about your peers. Instead you should  try to make yourself proud of what you achieve. I went to a not very good primary school (though I had fun) and a very good, academic secondary school. But Mrs Oldman, there in my mediocre state primary school, was the best, most inspiring teacher, I ever had.

Now my children are at school and I see teachers in a different way –  I’m not sure that parents and their children always want the same from the teaching staff. Yet last year my daughter also had an inspiring teacher, who quickly became loved by both the adults and kids. Her teacher – newly qualified and very enthusiastic – was also firm, but fair. Despite having 30 kids in the class, she seemed to get to know them all and cared deeply about each one of them. All of those children had a fantastic year.

A good or bad teacher can make all the difference to a child, and to a subject. A brilliant maths teacher can ease a child through difficult concepts and into a love of all things mathematical. A terrible chemistry teacher can put you off experiments for life (yes, I’m speaking from experience here). Teachers can change outlooks, and lives….

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