Who Was Your Favourite Teacher At School?
Think back to when you were at school – who were your favourite teachers and why? As you start your teacher training, you will often find yourself thinking about your own school days, and remembering the teachers who taught you. For some trainees this might mean thinking back to what seems like a different era in teaching – no internet, the use of chalkboards, and for some primary schools, even outside toilets in the 1990s! Other trainees might be remembering schooldays which were spent in a different country, with a different approach to education and even a different curriculum.
While we don’t want to get too stuck in the past, it is still useful to think back to our own schooldays, as that is the only time where we were actually in the shoes of a school pupil. Do we have a favourite teacher from back then? What was it about them, and what made them successful?
Here are some possible characteristics.
Going the Extra Mile
Often we will remember a teacher who has really gone the extra mile for us. A teacher who put on extra revision sessions, or who spent time helping us catch up when we had been off ill. As a new teacher, you will want to go the extra mile for your pupils – and it will take wisdom to know what to offer, as no teacher should burn themselves out by running extra homework clubs five nights a week.
Some of our favourite teachers are those who have encouraged us, choosing to use words that make us feel successful. They have given us confidence and made us believe in ourselves. Let it be your dream to become that kind of teacher.
Love of the Subject
Some teachers just seem to be passionately in love with their subject, and this enthusiasm is often infectious. As a Maths Scholar, you have been chosen as a passionate ambassador for your subject, so let it shine!
If you went to a school with poor classroom behaviour then you will know what it feels like to have a teacher who has got full control of their classroom. It can make you love being in their class, and feel like a breath of fresh air in the day. As a trainee, you might remember those teachers and feel overawed and inadequate when you consider their skills. Don’t forget that they had to learn those skills in the first place and that behaviour management is something you can improve throughout your career, with your training year being a particularly steep learning curve.
Humour and Personality
The use of humour in the classroom in many ways can’t be taught – dry wit, bubbling enthusiasm – whatever it is, it can only come with practice and the harnessing of a teacher’s natural personality and skills. Don’t try and be someone you aren’t, some teachers are serious, some are exciting, others are downright funny, and many different personality types can make a successful teacher. Make the most of your natural skills and then improve them as you become more experienced. (And of course it goes without saying – use humour in the classroom to build pupils up, not knock them down – keep it appropriate!)
Extra Curricular Activities
For some people, their favourite teacher was someone who ran activities outside their normal lessons. This could be something like the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, or running trips to maths competitions. This type of activity can be really important for pupils and make a huge difference to their lives. Is this something you see yourself doing in the future?
Often our favourite teachers are those who have helped us to achieve our potential – good teachers who have helped us to understand and enjoy our subject. It is amazing to think about the difference they have made to us, and the exciting opportunity you have as you start teaching.
Share your favourite teacher with your fellow Scholars
Tell your fellow Scholars about your favourite teacher at school – what did you like about them – and what difference did they make? What type of teacher do you think you will be – will you follow in their footsteps or succeed in a totally different way?