Every kid remembers the teacher that helped them, the teacher shone some supportive light in their schooling experience, the teacher that gave them a chance when most others didn't
His name was Mr McPherson. He was my history teacher for the first four years at high school, and I loved him as a teacher and his class – he definitely made a difference to me. What made Mr McPherson stand out was that he was different. He cared, and I mean really cared, not just a superficial ‘pleasant’. I could feel when he asked how I was that he genuinely cared – it wasn’t just a passing comment. He really wanted to know – I was held as a person as well as a pupil. He would notice straight away if I was off or something was bothering me and ask what was going on, how were things at home, did I want to speak about stuff.
It wasn’t that Mr McPherson was a walk-over or a breeze. He was strict. He shouted and didn’t take any nonsense, but he was fun and playful and could have a laugh. He had been out in the world and brought his life experience to school. He didn’t just come in and try to control us and do it by the book. He was, and still is, an absolute inspiration.
I remember a few years ago, when I went for an interview for primary teaching at University, I was asked about what inspired me, was there a teacher at school. And so I talked about Mr McPherson. I didn’t mention his name, but simply described how I felt and how he stood out. The funny thing was that the head teacher who was interviewing me asked, ‘Are you talking about Mr McPherson by any chance, because this is why I became a teacher’.
You can see that this is the light that makes a teacher stand out and how it truly makes a difference to many people’s lives, and is still felt and talked about years after school.
A project such as Teachers Are Gold is so important - to remind and re-connect teachers to the gold that they are, as we are all here to light the way, to inspire and support children to be all that they are.
I will always have a huge smile, memories and love in my heart for this teacher as never once did he say you can't do it, you'll not get it. He only ever truly supported me and genuinely cared.