Ask an adult if they remember their favourite teacher and the answer is invariably “Yes”. My grade two teacher, Mr McLeish, left a lasting impression. At age seven, I was already a keen reader, but Mr McLeish made books come alive, particularly because he did different voices for different characters. Mr McLeish happened to have a very strong Scottish accent so although I couldn’t quite differentiate all of the character voices, I instinctively appreciated the fabulousness of what he was doing. He also created a ‘Book Nook’ in the classroom, complete with cushions and bean bags – so exotic in my world where classrooms were all about desks and chairs!
This got me thinking – who were our teachers’ favourite teachers and why? And who wrote that sensational, earnest letter in the picture above?! Here’s what they had to say –
Mr Penson – “I was lucky to have so many terrific teachers and I can still name all of my primary school teachers and most of my secondary school teachers. It is hard to pick one favourite but the standout for primary school was Sister Antoinette my Grade 3 teacher. I remember her for the way she seemed to get the balance right between healthy competition and doing your best by having a go with things like timetables races, quizzes and some very interesting projects. I also loved the way my Grade 6 teacher Miss Williamson selected great books to read to the class. My favourite was The Silver Sword.
In secondary school it was Mr Barham, a favourite of many for his unique way in bringing history to life and making it interesting. He had a great sense of humour and a terrific rapport with all of his students.”
Shelley Ware – “I didn’t have many teachers who believed I was worth the effort, (not the coolest, smartest or fastest) but one teacher Mr Conroy, my grade 3 teacher, believed in me and made me believe I could learn anything and be anything I wanted to be. I still love Mr. Conroy for it to this day!”
Jacki Hopkins – “Back in the blackboard and chalk days, my Grade 2 teacher Mrs Main used to fill the whole blackboard with the most amazing artwork every Monday morning. I envied her drawing skills (and still do!), but it motivated me to get to school, to sit and watch her talent for what seemed like hours. Ever since, I have always valued and taken a lot of pride in presentation (…first appearances are lasting impressions!).”
Kerry Lomas – “I fondly remember my Grade 4 teacher Mrs Lebarvi. She was always so eager to see my artwork and really encouraged me to be creative.”
Ali Duffy – “My favourite teacher was my year 4 teacher, Miss Collins. Every Friday afternoon she would open the big cupboard in the room and we could read any book we liked – bliss! (every other day we all read from the same book).”
Sally Marsh – “I had a really beautiful Lit teacher in High School. He introduced me to the war poetry of Wilfred Owen, which I still love. Later in the year, we were allowed to call him by his first name, Terry. So radical!”
Sophie Apperly – “I enjoyed my time with each of my teachers. They were all different and I took away something from each of them…even Mrs. Parkinson who wasn’t particularly nice. I ran from my mum to join Mrs. Murphy’s Prep class and I never looked back. What followed was many great experiences, friendships and challenges. Miss Evans in grade 5 had lots of energy and connected with all of us. She thought I was industrious and I loved that. I am still industrious to this day in work, in life and in play.”
Bit McLean – “Mr Harding was a fabulous teacher. He turned everything into a game and even learning multiplication tables was competitive and fun. He also had a great sense of humour and made us laugh all of the time.”
Bit was kind enough to share some letters that she wrote to Mr Harding and his wife (Bit’s mum saved copies of them). I think you’ll agree that they are beyond fabulous – I particularly like the line about being “…poor but charming…”!