30th January 2009 at 00:00

The recent spate of pupils using social networking websites to insult and criticise their teachers has been both demoralising and insulting. The attacks can feel simultaneously intrusive and public.

So it is refreshing to learn that a recently retired teacher has defied this worrying trend by becoming the recipient of a Facebook appreciation society created by his former pupils.

Rene Cochlin had a long and distinguished career in education. He spent his latter years teaching politics and business studies at Gravesend Grammar in Kent.

Named "the father of the staffroom", he was both an inspiration and confidant to all.

Apart from being a talented practitioner, he also used to steal the show at staff cabarets and organised events such as a challenge of management and a mock parliament.

Mr Cochlin's response to the Facebook appreciation society? "This is a bit Golden Globey. I feel humble. No, I never feel humble, but I feel totally appreciative."

The group has around 150 members and the wall details the pupils' fond memories of being taught by Mr Cochlin. One simply wrote: "Absolute legend."

It is encouraging to see proof that some good teachers are remembered fondly.

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