Today is the 26th of May, which is annually recognised as National Thank a Teacher Day in the UK! It’s a day that was created to recognise the efforts and achievements of teachers, and is celebrated in schools and colleges across the country.
Being an Education Recruitment company, we see first-hand the dedication, patience, and incredible hard work that it takes to be a teacher, so we wanted think back to some of the amazing experiences in education that we’ve had.
I’m very lucky to have had some really incredible teachers in my time. The two that really stand out to me, even four years after they last taught me, were my History teacher, and the Pastoral Leader of my year group. But the funny thing that I’ve realised is, they weren’t just great teachers because their lessons were interesting, and they let us watch a movie on the last day of school (both were big benefits!), but because they really cared about their students.
Our Pastoral Leader spent the year setting up and running revision classes that weren’t really revision classes, but rather, an hour after school where we could talk about what was worrying us, whether it was our exams, or friendship drama, or even the fact that it was raining, and you’d forgotten a coat for your walk home. Every week, he sat himself in the middle of our classroom and was more than happy to listen to us talk.
For some people, I know that this will have been the only time that they felt someone was listening, and it’s something I’ve never forgotten.
My History teacher was the same. No amount of us worrying about our exams would faze him, and no matter how many times I insisted that I would never be able to remember the structures of Russian parliament, he always seemed to have some second sense that everything would be okay. It was in his class that his favourite joke was born. There was no question that was too ridiculous to ask, and so we leant into it.
“Sir?” I would ask.
“Yes.” He would reply.
“Can I ask a stupid people question?”
And I would, and he would tell me the answer, and never once made me feel silly for asking. A “stupid people” question was my way of saying that I was sure he’d told me this before, and it was probably incredibly obvious, but I was going to ask it anyway. To this day, still I’ll pick my head up from my desk and ask Sophie of Scott if they have time to answer my “stupid people” question (and I’m happy to report that they always do).
And I’m not the only one who enjoys National Thank a Teacher Day. Our newest Consultant, Lance Jackson takes the stage for his debut performance on our blog.
My first ever card from a student on National Thank a Teacher Day, was a card with “Thanks!”, plastered on the front. The small writing inside wrote…
“Mr Jackson, thanks for not giving me a C4”.
Now, this seems like a simple message, but it meant a lot more to me than at first glance.
This student was constantly getting in trouble throughout school, and had a BIG reputation with the teachers. From the onset, he reminded me of myself, and through some trial and error, I had lots of conversations with him to try and figure out what it was that was causing him to act up.
I decided to set him a target and be more lenient with him. I told him, “As long as you do the worksheet for the lesson, and answer any questions, you won’t get a detention”.
Of course, I knew there were other rules, but he liked the concept, nonetheless.
He cracked on with the worksheet like I’d never seen. I’d given him a differentiated worksheet, with the levels shown as Nando’s spice levels. He powered straight through to extra hot, and then even asked me for help when he was stuck. I’d never seen him work that well, but knowing he had a goal (and maybe letting him get away with talking to his mates a little bit while he worked), gave him a completely different attitude.
This then became a running joke in our class, as I knew I could push him through the work, and he would work hard doing it. He started working hard in all his classes and I was even commended by some other members of staff who had seen a change in the student’s attitude.
All that it took was a teacher taking a little extra time to be real with a student, and to have an honest conversation to find a balance. Behaviour management is an ongoing challenge, and will constantly change. It’s important to never be too stuck in your ways, otherwise you may miss a kid like this.
We would like to extend our biggest thank you’s, not only to the teachers who taught us, or taught our children, or to the teachers that we know and are lucky enough to work with, but to all teachers. You are heroes, and we salute you!