Janet Johnson

3rd September 2004 at 01:00
Janet Johnson teaches modern foreign languages at St John Fisher RC high school in Harrogate, and is a mentor to student teachers.

Three budding teachers have written a joint letter to Friday magazine in praise of their mentor and guardian angel, Janet Johnson, saying she's just the candidate for our flowers, champagne and chocolates. "We couldn't have asked for a better mentor," write Claudia Fabian, Matthew Thompson and Paula Critchley, who had their main placements at St John Fisher for the spring and summer terms.

Ms Johnson, a wise and experienced senior teacher, took the three under her wing and gave them the attention they needed - at weekends or early in the morning, "if that's when we needed to talk".

From the start, they felt welcome and well-supported. Above all, she made them "believe in ourselves and helped us to overcome difficulties".

St John Fisher is a popular and successful high school in a beautiful setting near the Great Yorkshire showground. It has more than 1,300 pupils, plus a unique ecumenical sixth form shared with nearby StAidan's CE high school. Exam results are good - with well over 70 per cent routinely achieving five top grades at GCSE.

Ms Johnson is just the kind of teacher on whom a school like St John Fisher depends, according to head Paul Jackson. "She's super - very strong academically with a clear interest in the pastoral side. It's so obvious that she enjoys working with young people."

Mr Jackson, whose school often has a dozen or more student teachers, is full of praise for the trainees, "a brilliant group". When sickness and ill-health depleted the languages department, Claudia, Matthew and Paula ensured the academic curriculum was maintained. "We're very grateful to them," he says. So it's a big thank-you all round.

Is there an unsung hero in your school? Tell Sarah Bayliss, TESFriday editor, about him or her at the address below. Flowers kindly supplied by Marks amp; Spencer

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