We should never underestimate the impact that we as teachers have on our students. I know I would not be doing what I am today without the support and guidance of when teachers when I was in school, particularly the PE department.
I was lucky I went to a school, The Hayfield School in Doncaster, where I was taught by so many inspirational and talented teachers who nurtured my love for learning and made my time at school so enjoyable. I will always remember being asked by my A level PE teacher, Mrs Bettesworth, to stand up in front of the class and deliver a presentation. I got up and held my book in front of my face to cover the fact it was bright red. I hated speaking in front of people, even if it was offering an answer to a question in class. Now I stand up and deliver presentations to staff, parents and external agencies on a regular basis – without the butterflies!
I didn’t quite understand Mrs Bettesworth’s tactics at the time, in fact I sometimes dreaded her lessons, but looking back I am so grateful to her for putting me in those situations, for taking me out of my comfort zone because she identified what I needed in order to help me achieve my goal of becoming a teacher. All of the members of Hayfield PE department provided me with opportunities to develop and grow my confidence.
As teachers we turn up and ‘just do our job’. Plan, deliver and evaluate our lessons, mark work, lead extra-curricular activities, support students outside of lessons and don’t really think much of it. But for our students, we can make a huge difference. We can spark an interest in our students that leads them to want to pursue a career in that area. We can give them our time when they need it the most. We can provide the support and challenge to develop them. We should never underestimate the impact we have as teachers. Even if it is just the way we say hello to students every morning,the way we speak them in class, the way we deliver our lessons.
A couple of years ago I wrote to, and met up with, Mrs Bettesworth and was able to thank her for all of her support. I think as teachers it’s also nice to hear how we have made an impact – not just through exam results but on the lives of our students. That truly makes our hard work worthwhile.