Let’s Talk: who was your favourite teacher? 61

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Teachers make an incredible impact on every child’s life, sometimes rivalling that of our own families. We only need to think back through those decades – to see how crystal-clear certain memories and moments remain after all this time – to realise just how deep an imprint our education left on us.

Granted, many of us will still turn red with frustration thinking of a bad or vindictive teacher half a century ago. On the other hand, it’s lovely to feel warmth and appreciation reflecting on the truly good ones; those who truly saw education as their vocation and did their best to put their passion and personality into their (often thankless) work.

In many cases, it’s all too easy to trace our current interests to the teacher who introduced them to us. Looking at my older brother’s life, it’s clear his decades-spanning fascination with ancient history can be traced back to a single spirited teacher. Had somebody else taught the class, his life would almost certainly have taken a very different path.

Personally, I carry the fondest memories of Mr.\ Paulson, my 9th grade English teacher. He didn’t just teach English as a subject of study; he worked his enthusiasm for it into his very delivery. He had a wonderful, razor-sharp wit, frequently aimed at those who misbehaved, but far from mean-spirited.

The sly references and puns he worked into his otherwise-routine classroom instructions seemed aimed only at the few who could keep up. Sometimes – rather self-centredly – I couldn’t help but feel they were for my benefit alone. He taught me the value of paying attention.

At the time, he seemed to accept my excuses of “I left it at home”. In hindsight, I can see it clearly: he was humouring me. Perhaps, aware of the tough family situation I was experiencing at the time, he allowed a little leeway for the greater good.

Such reflections can also be tinged with regret; we didn’t always give the best teachers the same respect they afforded us. But it’s never too late to reflect and be grateful for the role they played.

Today we’d like to ask you: who was your favourite teacher? How did they help shape your life? And did you ever get the chance to thank them?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. We lived on an isolated farm in the 40,50,s and i never went to a “school”education was Correspondence school, the Monday morning Radio,Dr Butchers and other teachers had an hourly session,then fortnightly written assignments by post,my mother bless her spent hours with a kid who was um a rebel.but later was a pilot and World champion in the chosen hobby

  2. Mr. Hiemcki..h.s.biology…always patient …role model. ..I wanted to be a science teacher just like him…I became a preschool teacher for 17 years..

  3. Glenelg primary srh aus. Gr 7 mr jarvis. Great teacher. Returned my comic books when he took them from me while reading them in class.. vermont tech. 1lm. 2ef. 3ef. Please forgive us. Those poir teachers. 30 kids who shared the same class for 3 yrs. We gave our teachers emotional hell. Especialy our music teacher..

  4. Miss Forbes, my Year 4 teacher, who read us ‘The Secret Garden’. That book stirred my love of reading. Also, Miss Isaac, taught me History at High School. She made history come alive, it as my favourite subject.

  5. I’m afraid I didn’t have one. I hated school from start to finish. So much different to day

  6. I had an English teacher in high school that brought Shakespeare alive and always went that extra mile for his students

  7. My beloved Mrs Rose from Holy Trinity, Woking, UK. Gave me Wind in the Willows as a parting gift when I was 7yo and migrated with my family as 10 pound Poms to Australia. You were never equalled! And I still have the book!

  8. Can’t say I had one. We moved a lot so by the time I got to year 11 I had been to 7 schools. B|

  9. Mrs Antonez….she believed in me and more importantly made me believe in myself.She was my maths teacher in final year of school.I was getting 12/100 in exams…..she took me from that to a credit in my School Certificate.She was such a good role model….”come on Sue think!….you know you have it in you”.

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