“Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?“
When I first read today’s daily prompt, I immediately thought of two teachers (plus a third) from school who have had a positive impact on my life and, erm, what’s another word for ‘growing’?
I therefore feel it would be unfair and, perhaps too personal (don’t read too far in to that!) to write this about just one man (I’m struggling to think of a female who’s had the same affect throughout education).
During primary school, I had one teacher who was feared by many but also admired for his passion and abilities within the world of art. He had his own talent and was the kind of man who made an effort to share his own passion for the subjects we wer
e studying. I was fortunate enough to spend two years in a class with him and I’m pleased to say I never once found myself on the wrong side of him. Even in a mock-Victorian classroom setting one year at Blaise Castle, where a class-mate was millimetres short of feeling the cane wrap against his wrist! This man would encourage me in things like football, where I often felt inadequate compared against the rest. I never actually made the school team (or, even the position as the lone substitute) but, I never gave up (at least, until I was 15…).
Folly Castle at the Blaise Castle Estate in Bristol.
After leaving and moving on to secondary school, I’d have to wait a couple of years before I’d meet two teachers who would reach out to me in their own ways. One was again an art teacher; feared by many for hist strict, ‘old school’ nature and threats of after-school detentions (yes, as if that would correct my truancy in Year 13…). He gave me time and consideration in Year 9 where the rest of the class were mostly in receipt of discipline. He couldn’t walk around the classroom many times without stopping us all to share and highlight examples from my own work. This continued throughout the GCSEs but, as I entered Year 10, the classes were shifted to accommodate those who wanted to study art and I found he became more strict towards me personally. I doubt it was personal but, there may well have been a necessary change to his teaching as we were, of course, working to his exams and, this teacher had only joined the school as I encountered him in Year 9.
I lived and attended school with a fear of this man that, to be perfectly honest, held me back from pursuing photography at A-Level (he was one of two main authorities on that subject). Looking back, I’ve always been able to see that he was a positive influence and, although he came across in way that was direct and frightened me, he was inspiring and offered much encouragement.
My secondary school – it’s changed a bit since 2003! (Photo credit: the internet.)
That same year (or, was it in Year 10?), I met a man who would encourage me to find enjoyment within Design and Technology, after two-years of not enjoying being practical working with metal and, yes, even WOOD! It came through Graphic Products (mostly drawing, which I like, but also some computer work) and I eventually tried my hand at some more ‘hands-on, practical’ tasks in constructing mock-ups and final models (does that sound familiar to you woodworkers, out there?). We’re mostly talking of Styrofoam, odd bits of plywood and plenty of balsa wood. I wasn’t afraid to use the sander, struggled to fit a bit in the chuck of the pillar drill, felt frightened by the action of the scroll saw and would only allow the teacher to use the bandsaw on my behalf. But, if you’re at all familiar with this blog and its history then, you’re well aware that I’ve made improvements since!
He would reach out to me at times, almost like the friend I grew up without. He was very supportive when I was going through a rough time in Year 13 and I regret not being able to say goodbye (I dropped out of my A-Levels), as he also left the school and retired to France that year.
City of Bristol College, Ashley Down, Bristol. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In September of that year (2003), I enrolled on to a Carpentry and Joinery course at the City of Bristol College. If you’ve read about me and you’re aware of how I got started in woodwork then, you’ll know that, after a year’s break (working) between 2006 and 2007, I returned to the same college to learn about furniture making for another three-years. I could go on for hours writing about each of the people I met in this time – in my first year of carpentry, I believe we had eight different tutors overall; struggling to contain a class of mostly 16-17 year olds!! All I’ll say is that I met several different people in all that time and there wasn’t one man I disliked. Each one had something different to offer. You could always ask two of them for different opinions on how to tackle a problem and, unlike some of the employers I’ve worked for, they always had patience, they always showed an understanding and they always offered help and support when you needed it. All you had to do was try and ‘succeeding’ in a practical vocation helped to boost my self-confidence and I learned that I could achieve things. It was down to each of them.
Woodworking Tools. (Photo credit: Home and Gardening)
…Oh, and in case you’re still wondering, YES, I was a bit of a Teacher’s Pet!! I certainly wasn’t the one who launched a hand plane across the workshop while the tutor was elsewhere and I don’t remember ever receiving a single detention at school (aside from class ones).