Inspiration in all the right places

Lately I've been thinking about what makes a good teacher, scratch that, a Great teacher. It didn't take me long to think of the inspirational teachers I had when I was in school, in primary school more so then second level. I don't think this is anything to do with the teachers in secondary I just think in primary you get to know the teachers better and they have the chance to make a bigger impact on your life. Which is exactly what my teachers in primary school did for me.
There were two in particular that I think made me the teacher that I am today. I'd like to think that they know already how they've shaped me as a person as well as a teacher. I hope they do. I had one teacher in 3rd and 4th class that gave me something that I can never thank her enough for. She gave me my love of Irish. Before this Irish was just something we had to do in school and as homework. I couldn't say much and even though I can't honestly say I hated it I didn't like it. But in 3rd class Irish became something to look forward to. It became the lesson I enjoyed most, the first part of my homework I did when I got home and the subject I wanted to excel in. No matter what.
As a teacher she not only gave me Irish she also showed me another side to teachers in general. Up until then I'd been in total awe of them, afraid of teachers unsure of myself and generally avoiding saying anything in case I was wrong. The idea of being in trouble with a teacher back then was beyond terrifying. This teacher showed  me it was ok to make mistakes and be wrong sometimes. I had finally found a teacher I could talk to and didn't scare me. Of course the other teachers I had in school til then weren't scary but I guess I was too young to understand that one. Being able to talk to a teacher is a gift I'll never forget, especially in 4th class. My mother wasn't well and the worry was taking its toll on me and my school work. Thankfully the understanding of one teacher made all the difference to me and things got much better. For that I can never thank her enough.

Growing up I used to play being a teacher, I taught my teddys all about maths and Irish. I wanted to teach from a very early age. In secondary school I did transition year. I did my work experience in my old primary school with the learning support teacher. It was here that I realised that I could be a good teacher. This remarkable lady showed me another side of compassion in an educator, one that is born in you. It's not something that be taught or learned. It needs to be found deep inside. Over the course of the two weeks work experience I found that compassion and learnt so much more about myself then I ever thought possible. She was a real inspiration to me then and still is now. I was lucky enough to spend time in the learning support rooms during the summer months doing odd jobs for her and learning on my feet.
Going back to this school in June of 09 as a trainee teacher facing into my first teaching practice I was of course nervous. But the support that these two teachers gave me was beyond the call of duty. I felt at home at once. I gained a new found confidence in my skills and learnt invaluable lessons during the four and a half weeks I was there. The most important ones coming from these amazing passionate teachers. Enjoy it! And they were right, with my new self esteem in the classroom I really did enjoy it. And I can't thank them enough for that lesson. 

Wise words today? Think about what kind of teacher you want to be, who inspires you? Did you ever tell them what they've done for you?

1 comment:

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