Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Teachers DO change lives

Recently, I was doing some classroom volunteering in a new school, and one of the teachers in the staff room said to me, 'just don't go into teaching thinking you'll change lives.' I didn't feel it was my place to argue with her, so I kept quiet.
Tonight I went to a maths workshop for parents of P1-P3's in Hugh's school, initially thinking, maths schmaths; how can I just 'get by' until he turns into an adult and uses a calculator like the rest of us?
Yet his teacher was so inspiring, she made me want to relearn maths all over again - which was some feat, considering I had to be dragged by the hair through quadratic equations the first time.
But how things are taught is almost as important as what is taught, and she had me enthused and believing that there's probably an innate poetry to maths, if I  can just find it. It was nearly all Brian Cox - Maths can be beautiful too.
And on my walk home, I thought how lucky my boy is to have a great teacher and I thought of how I loved some of my teachers in Islay High School. Yes, Mr. Warren, we were in awe of you and your casual, almost nonchalant, dispersing of Shakespeare, the way you sat on your desk with your floppy hair (and Converse basketball sneakers?); your effortless command of the class.
French and German from Miss Cuthbert, who was always up, positive and shiny with a new outfit each day (how was that even possible?). A poster of Schloss Neuschwanstein on the wall! Oh, the possibilities. She offered us a packet of Smarties to the first person who could spontaneously use the German word, 'doch!' in the correct context. No one ever won one it. Doch! That's me winning it now. It's only taken a few decades to sink in, but hey, it's better than Smarties.
Good teachers, man. Let them rule the world.