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  • Writer's pictureSue Williamson

What is it to be a teacher?

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

Until 1992, when I started my PGCE (Teaching training course) at the University of York, my view had been shaped entirely by my experiences as a pupil at a large comprehensive, where most teachers seemed to stand at the front and lecture, and most pupils were anonymous, me included ... just one out of a large class of others.

Over the 22 years I taught at Burnholme Community College, I began to realise that it was not this that was teaching, - but rather, it was all about a pupil’s learning. It was all about them, it was always about them, and that my job was to do whatever I could to enthuse, facilitate, inspire, and encourage. The word Education comes from the Greek word Edukos, which means 'To Draw Forth From Within” – and when you look at it like this, you start to see teachers are everywhere, not confined to schools – but anyone who has ever taken the time to open the door for another person and keep it there until they are ready to climb through, well that is a teacher!

I had this in mind this week when talking to Neil Card, our Music Director, before he set off to the National Youth Music Award Ceremony in London. Just in case you have missed the pretty comprehensive media coverage, Neil was nominated for “Inspiring Music Leader of the Year ” – and he was wondering what his various roles amounted to at Tang Hall SMART: producer, coach, co-leader, music-mentor, team tutor etc. Well to me it was obvious, he is an exemplary teacher, and this is the best thing a person can be: someone who makes a difference to another person, who ignites a flame, motivates them, sees them succeeding – there is nothing like it, no feeling as satisfying as this, seeing your pupil learn everything you know, surpass you, then leap on ahead.

Oh and in case you were wondering, Neil was awarded the top prize!

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