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A christmas ‘thank you’, to all you teachers

A few months ago I saw an article in a local newspaper saying that one of my high school teachers had gone missing. He was thankfully found safe and well soon after but I felt genuinely concerned for him. I remember him as a lovely kind old man (even then) and everyone who went to my school has fond memories of him.

This all made me reminisce about my time at school and my teachers. It is truly amazing how many of them I remember and the incredible things they did for me. They taught me calculus, plate tectonics, complex numbers and how to weld and I appreciate all of this but the things I really remember them for are the extra acts of kindness which they didn’t have to do and have probably had a bigger impact on my life than their teaching.

There was the primary school teacher who invented jobs for me to help her at break times just so I didn’t have to go out to the playground as she knew I was being bullied. I didn’t understand this at the time of course as I thought she really needed me to chop pieces of coloured paper and sort the felt tips into colour order. Looking back it makes more sense but the fact that I vividly remember this teacher 25 years later shows how important what she did for me was.

Another primary school teacher at a different school visited me in hospital when I had pneumonia and then when I was at home recovering after he would bring me work round to my house because he knew I didn’t want to fall behind. I have no idea whether this was real school work or not or just little projects he created for me so I didn’t feel left out but I am pretty certain that he didn’t need to do this as part of his job.

Then there were the two A Level teachers who built me a computer and bought it round to my house so that I could do my coursework because they knew I didn’t have one and would struggle without it. Not to mention the endless hours they spent in the evenings at work so that I could complete my practical work in the workshop – something which they did for all of their students in their own time, not just for me.

These are just a few memories of my teachers amongst hundreds more incredible things they did for me and I know that my friends have hundreds more of their own.

The reason why I am sharing these stories is to illustrate that you as teachers will be remembered by your students for all of the nice things you do (large or small) and should never underestimate the impact you can have on their lives. I know that my teachers helped, supported and encouraged me and pushed me to achieve as much as I could and I wouldn’t have made it to University without them.

Thankfully this carried on into University where I had some very committed lecturers who were willing to go the extra mile to make sure that I got the best degree I could. They spent extra time with me when I didn’t understand a subject and my dissertation supervisor gave up his free time to help me with my research which I know made a significant difference to my understanding and final mark.

Posted by Laura Thompson on Thu, 9 Feb 2017

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Laura is Assistant Head of Recruitment at UEA overseeing schools liaison, recruitment and enrichment events. She has 10 years of experience working in Higher Education, including a previous role as UEA Admissions Manager. Laura graduated with a Master’s in Mathematics from the University of Kent in 2004.

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