Teachers still changing lives
Last October I met up with some old school friends – and I mean old! We chatted about our memories of our days at Ashton-in-Makerfield Grammar School in the 1970’s. The memories flooded back of the teachers who put us off a subject for life – even now I tremble at the smell of sawdust – and those who inspired us. My friend David (now an accountant in the south of France spoke fondly of Mr. Grant, a Mathematician who encouraged him to study Maths at Oxford. He talked about the way Mr. Grant was passionate about his subject, pushed him to higher levels and simply believed in him. For a lad whose parents ran a corner shop that meant a lot. Without Mr. Grant what would have become of David. Who knows?
I have similar recollections of the impact of Mr. Rimmer. He had a crew cut and used to sing the hymns very loudly in assembly. But the main thing I recall is that he loved Geography. He told interesting stories about remote places on the other side of the world, explained how rocks were formed millions of years ago and helped us to understand how the great cities grew and functioned. He was a fascinating man. And, crucially, he recognised the fact that I had an interest in the subject and encouraged me to take it further. So I went to university. Without Mr. Rimmer I wouldn’t have set out on the journey that I’ve experienced over the last 30 years or so.
This week I’ve been meeting pupils at the three academies. I do it every half term. It’s been Year 9’s turn this week. Without much prompting they tell of the teachers who inspire them. They are still around I’m delighted to hear. And what do pupils across the Trent Academies Group tell me that makes a difference? Not much changes. They like teachers who care about their subject, who congratulate them when they are doing well and advise them how to improve – and if they get a laugh or two then even better. They also like teachers to make sure that anyone who misbehaves is dealt with. Sounds like they are all looking for their Mr. Rimmer and virtually everyone is finding one. That’s great news.