My aim was to fill pupils with passion;Letter

23rd April 1999 at 01:00
I REALLY enjoyed "Never forget your old teacher" by Libby Purves (TES, April 9).

I am 51 now and have been a teacher for 27 years. I knew I wanted to become a teacher when I was 15. By then, I had already had some brilliant teachers.

At Oakfarm school in Hillingdon, Middlesex, Miss Birch, who brought in party food after the Coronation Day celebrations, proved teachers can be kind and generous. And Mr Williams, firm but fair with a lovely sense of humour, showed me how a good teacher could behave.

Then at Newnham school in west London, Mr Ryan praised my composition and showed the value of positive appraisal.

Mrs Rosser at Ickenham High School wept in front of us as she explained a sensitive issue, showing her great empathy, and then, at Chiswick polytechnic, dynamic Miss Moore inspired me to love drama.

At St Albans Mrs Sargeant encouraged me in English, Mr Norris and Mr Raynor in art and Mr Drysdale in French.

I wanted to be a teacher so I could be like those good teachers you never forget, those who in some ways change your life and fill you with enthusiasm.

I could also give examples of other teachers: Miss Dan who hit me with a stick when I couldn't say immediately what 9 x 8 was and Mr Roberts who smacked the backs of a boy's legs when he asked what a paragraph was - and a host of other sleep-inducing teachers. My aim was to fill pupils with passion.

In reality - however young, old, exciting, boring or talented a teacher may be - with eight lessons per day most teachers end up as average rather than brilliant. Maybe they have brilliant moments, but everyone experiences really dull periods, too.

Education is not a business where profits can be counted. In the 1990s too many senior managers are out of touch with classroom reality and wouldn't know one end of a pupil from the other.

Teachers are not teachers to satisfy managers and inspectors. They are teachers for pupils' sakes.

Anne Adams

39 Grove Avenue

London N10

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