2. Inspiration

If you want to be a great educator, you must connect with your pupils and reach them on multiple levels , because the best teachers are committed to their students both inside and outside the classroom. Stay informed on courses and local workshop registration dates as well as news impacting educators. The inspiring educator strives to spark motivation in all students in a way that spurs academic achievement and galvanizes success via motivational influence.

As a teacher, have you been inspired to work harder or pursue a particular goal? Were you inspired to become an educator by one of your own great teachers? Inspiration can take many forms, from helping a pupil through the academic year and their short-term goals, to guiding them towards their future career. Years after graduation, many working professionals will still cite a particular teacher as the one who fostered their love of what they currently do and attribute their accomplishments to that educator.

But great teachers are not born. One can learn to be an inspiring teacher.

Andrew Motion Former poet laureate

To realize that goal, teachers need to aspire to inspire. He predicted the disaster of Richard Nixon and Watergate, based on Nixon's activities in the s. He also showed me how the way you lived your life could be a work of art. I went to a comprehensive school in Sussex in the s, where one teacher stood out, my A-level English teacher, Henry Thomas. He was by way of being an eccentric — tall, patrician, often done up in a white suit and Panama — kind of a Jean Brodie, though young and English.

He was passionate about writing, reading, talking too, always engaged and enthusiastic, and made each lesson unique, fun, exciting.

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He didn't suffer fools, but in return treated us as thinking people with opinions worth listening to. As a result, we all raised our game and, in his lessons, were students rather than schoolgirls. Most important — and even harder these days of league tables and inflexibility — he encouraged us to think not about passing exams and grades, but rather the books themselves and the writers behind them.

An exceptional teacher. Derek Swift taught me French at Wellington College. In his class of 24, 21 got A grades and 3 got Bs. He taught us Russian in his spare time — four got As and two got Bs. We were like Alan Bennett's History Boys. My drama teacher Mrs Fisher-Jones was a great teacher. She always told me I was really funny and that I should develop that. I didn't know what that meant — I hadn't even heard of stand-ups then. She would let us write our own plays and do improv. There were loads of us who didn't go into the arts but still remember what a brilliant teacher she was.

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I still get Christmas cards from her now. She says she always knew what I would do.


We were considered to be inferior to those at grammar school and we were made to feel that as well. To start with, I didn't want to know. Teaching me must have been like trying to communicate with a slab of tripe. One teacher in particular encouraged me to get hands on. He taught woodwork and metalwork and showed me, literally, how to use a spanner. He would show you how to drill a bit of wood, how to sharpen your tools etc. He was a very bright type, a very intelligent chap but he was a very fatherly type too.

This was before the days when health and safety came into the equation and we didn't have safety helmets but that helped me grow up as well.

One Teacher's Inspiration Essay

My teacher had to know about first aid because every lesson someone would cut their finger, so he was also a nurse as well. There was something of a double-act at my school Toynbee Comprehensive, Eastleigh, ; music teacher Mary Granger, and drama teacher David Dalton. Both showed incredible tolerance and enthusiasm, given that I had no discernible talent in either subject. Miss Granger, in particular, was obliged to hear me alternate Imagine and In The Air Tonight on the rehearsal room piano, often for hours at a time. Both teachers gave a great deal of their own time to pursuing out-of-hours projects.

They also managed to conquer the suspicion and indifference of the male students. I sometimes wish that I'd had the same inspiration in more "sensible" vocational subjects. Instead I spent far too much of my adult life pursuing a career as an actor, without ever really having the ability to act. In the old days there was a "seventh-term" set aside for Oxbridge candidates. There were only two or three of us going for it at my school, so we'd wander round, in and out of the building as we pleased, beholden to no one, a vaguely celestial "upper-upper-sixth".

One of my Oxbridge tutors was a man called Peter Gardiner. What was odd about Mr Gardiner was that he'd come from a glittering career in various top private schools — headmaster at one of the best — and, for his own reasons, had decided to finish his career as deputy head at our Welwyn Garden comprehensive.

It seemed to me like this chap had walked right out of Greyfriars into Grange Hill. We made fun of his accent and his two posh middle names. I went to him for one-to-one coaching in English. I'd shamble into his office reeking of smoke from the toilets, I'd not have read anything he recommended, I had all the miserable self-pity of the fortunate and promising. And this fiftysomething old gentleman — I didn't know any gentlemen — looked at me with the face of a passionate boy whose love of books and stories had filled his life to the brim.

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. Who inspired you to teach? | PBS NewsHour

We were different generations: I was the old at their worst: mind made up, black-or-white, full of myself, bad habits. He was the young at their best: open, innocent, self-effacing, eager to share. I think a great teacher isn't talking to you: he's talking to someone he can see inside you, so that in time you shed who you think you are, like an old skin, and walk out into the sun again as young as you can be. I don't think it's enough that teachers just need to be an elite graduate — you have to like children and be skilled at communicating with them, so I would challenge the idea that you have to be an academic genius to be a good teacher.

It is more about opening up children to the possibilities that come from learning. Many of my best teachers taught music. I was never going to be a professional musician, but that didn't matter — to have a teacher who took an interest in me, and shared their passion was hugely valuable.

I couldn't pick out a single teacher, I had many who inspired me. The difference between the teachers I loved and those I didn't was whether they treated me as a person, engaged in a debate. You may find this hard to believe, but I was probably quite a challenging, argumentative kid. The teachers who were best were the ones who realised how important intelligent dissent is, rather than churning out people who become cogs in the wheel.

Not all were like this, but enough of my teachers respected me, encouraged my curiosity and dissenting nature. I went to Tiffin Girls in Kingston from to , and my recollection is that it never occurred to any of us to criticise the teachers, or appreciate them very much either. In the run-up to my history O-level, I did realise I wasn't learning enough, but I blamed the period, not the teacher.

To save the situation, I asked her whether I could look at some exam papers, to see what else I could answer questions on. Then I just mugged up this other stuff by myself. The best teacher I had taught religious knowledge, so I took it to A-level, despite being a non-believer. His name was Levi Dawson , and I'm pretty sure, now I come to think of it, that I looked up to him mainly because he was the first person I'd ever met who had written a book.

I hated every single one of my teachers and if any one of them are still alive, I hope they read this. They were horrible old fascists, convinced you could beat education into kids, and they threatened to cut my hair because I had lovely locks back then.

It obviously traumatised me because now I'm completely bald. Andrew Motion Former poet laureate My background was very unbookish, and there was absolutely no expectation from my family of my ever reading very much or even writing anything. Michael Morpurgo, Author I'm the proud owner of a third- class degree and have been teaching for 40 years, so I'm interested to learn that the Tories don't think I'd be up to the job now. Paddy Ashdown, Politician John Eyre really changed my life. Sharon Horgan, Comedian I didn't have great luck with my teachers.

Bonnie Greer, Playwright and critic One of my best teachers was my history professor, Dr Turner , at university at the beginning of the s.