In secondary school (high school if I happen to have any US readers?) I had loads of different teachers. The good, the bad and the indifferent. I could talk for hours about some of the bad ones, but that wouldn’t be very nice. Also some were so bad they don’t even deserve this kind of fame. No, instead, I’m going to mention one teacher I had in particular. I won’t put his name in but anyone who knows me will probably be able to guess. He taught me for at least one subject every year except my first year (and I don’t even really remember first year so it hardly matters). Mainly, he taught English so he was naturally happy with the fact that I especially liked English and wanted to be a writer. After having me for two years as a student he was well aware of how much I loved writing. He used to come in with leaflets about short story competitions and writing contests for me.
One of the major things he did for me somewhere between third year and transition year was push me towards journalist. I will admit right here that I didn’t always want to be a journalist. I always wanted to be a writer, there’s a difference. I had no interest in journalism, no interest in current affairs or politics, BORING! I’m sure my fellow classmates now would be shocked and ashamed, they’ve probably been looking at current affairs since they were nine. But at 15, I just wanted to listen to terrible music and talk to my friends. Yet, my teacher continued to push me towards writing articles. He said that’s what I’ll probably end up doing, but I refused to listen for months. Eventually I started to give in. I started to give THOSE contests a go. I became naturally more interested in current affairs with a family very interested in it and as I got older I was interested in issues that might affect me. In transition year, I was one of four people who put a charity magazine together with the help of that same teacher. I was responsible for writing half the content and I’m still proud of the finished project.
By my final two years I was well set on becoming a journalist. There was no question. I wrote for the year book and anything else I could. My teacher got me in contact with another member of staff who frequently wrote for my local paper, who gave me something to write. That became my first published article. He also gave me a book called “Writing for Magazines” because he thought I would find it very helpful. Finally, near the end of my second level education, he wrote me a glowing reference for a college interview I had.
He has a true passion for teaching, he tries to impart wisdom beyond the subject he teaches. He engages the class in interesting conversations and he’s always up for having a laugh, once we worked hard while we laughed. Two years since I left that school and I’m now officially a freelance journalist and features editor of my college newspaper. So this is just to say thanks to him.