12 teachers I’m grateful for this Christmas

BTEC student Alfie Payne looks back at his education and pays tribute to the professionals who have supported him along the way
19th December 2020, 10:07am
Alfie Payne

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12 teachers I’m grateful for this Christmas

https://www.tes.com/magazine/teaching-learning/general/12-teachers-im-grateful-christmas
Thanking Teachers: 12 Teachers I'm Grateful For This Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving; for being thankful; for reminiscing. We sing songs, watch movies and enjoy - or at least tolerate - time off with family and friends.

One of the most well-known carols is arguably The Twelve Days of Christmas, so I've remixed the lyrics. Presenting: the 12 teachers I'm grateful for, this Christmas.


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  1. The highlight of my infant school career was undoubtedly the day I slipped on a baked bean and threw my food over myself. I'll never forget Mrs B for coming to the rescue and helping clear me up. 
  2. My mother decided to gate-crash my time at infant school by joining the special educational needs and disability team: I'm grateful to Mrs S for keeping her out of my way - and keeping her sane.
  3. In Year 3, I discovered my typing ability: Mr R let me type my first ever exam - weeks later, I could type at 80 words per minute (we sit at 119 today. Thank you, Mr R. 
  4. In junior school, aged 10, an event that would shape the rest of my childhood occurred: my stepdad died of lung cancer. It devastated me. But Mrs M, my teacher and, in fact, everyone in school at the time were instrumental to my wellbeing. I couldn't imagine going through that difficult period without school to fall back on.
  5. We're into secondary school now: a time I remember a bit better, although there are times I wish I could forget. Like when I fell down the stairs in Year 9, outside the Learning Support department. Out ran Mrs C and Mrs P, who came to my rescue and helped me up.
  6. I was no stranger to the Learning Support department, and both Mrs C and Mrs P deserve a medal for putting up with me and my needs. They helped sort out my access arrangements and, in Year 11 when I became ill, ensured my final year would be as stress-free as possible, with the best possible results (spoiler alert: I passed everything). 
  7. There's another department, and set of teachers who deserve a massive shout out: Mrs J, Miss M, Mr W, and Mr B, from maths. I was dead certain I was going to fail my maths GCSE - but their resounding commitment and stubbornness meant that didn't happen. I'm grateful for them believing in me, even when I didn't myself. Thanks to them, I don't think twice about adding or subtracting percentages, or dividing uneven numbers (although quadratic equations are still something I don't understand). 
  8. One of my favourite things to do is think up crazy ideas, and follow the not-so-crazy ones through. When they're to do with education, they normally need the support of teachers: Miss T and Mrs W used to be subjected to my (literally 100s) of emails, as they supported me in making my wild dreams and ideas come true.
  9. I've always been one for taking on extra responsibility, so when I was given the opportunity to take part in a competition with the local police by Mrs W, I couldn't resist. Taking part in that competition led me to take the college course I did and start the business I now run - a small opportunity that's led to so much more. I'm so thankful for that.
  10. I was head boy in Year 1, although it's fair to say I wasn't the typical candidate for it. I'm not an academic - I sat the foundation tiers wherever possible. Yet my passion for learning and community shone through. I'm grateful to the senior leadership team at my secondary school for supporting this change: breaking and reshaping the moulds society expects.
  11. Pastoral support is something I relied on heavily throughout school and Mr R, Mrs B, Mrs T and Mrs C were instrumental in this. They listened to my endless rants, to my concerns, celebrated with me when there were highs, even cried with me on the lows. They helped to make school feel like a family and that's something I'll never, ever forget. Even now, almost two years on, they keep in touch, offering their support, and guiding voice as I navigate young adulthood.
  12. School and college technicians might not consider the student-interaction of their role to be a fundamental part. But for me, it is: they provide an escape from the classroom, an alternative point of view when you're stressing about assignments and exams. Mr S in IT, Mr M in Media felt more like colleagues than teachers by the end of our time together.

Alfie Payne is a media student from Hampshire

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