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The Power of a Teacher

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Photo of Jill (Teach Starter)
Updated | 5 min read

When I was teaching in the classroom, I lost my way and my passion for the job. Constant data collection and analysis, goals, targets, paperwork… rah, rah, rah, caused me to lose sight of why I got into teaching in the first place – teaching the kids!

It’s now that I’m not in the classroom, but still firmly entrenched in the education industry, that I have the time and clarity to reflect on why I decided to become a teacher in the first place. Ignoring joking comments from friends and family that it was for the 9-3 hours and all of the holidays (cough, cough!), I know I became a teacher because of the influences I have had along the way.

If you were to ask me who my favourite teacher was throughout my schooling career, I could tell you without hesitation. It was Mr. Humphries. He was my Year 6 teacher, and I thought he was just fabulous. When the class lists were being handed out at the end of Year 5, I crossed my fingers and promised everything I had to the class list Gods that I was going to be in Mr. Humphries’ class… and I was!

Mr. Humphries was just the right amount of fun, mixed in with a clear distinction of where the line was. He pushed me to do better in my writing and I can vividly think back to a day when I was writing a piece of text about my Dad. Mr. Humphries kept sending me back to my desk saying, it needs more descriptive language! From anyone else, this could have been very annoying, but because of my 12-year old unwavering respect and my yearning to want to please my favourite teacher, I kept going back, determined to add more and more. I even remember going in at a lunchtime to keep writing. I really believe that I fell in love with writing in Year 6!

I also remember Mr. Humphries reading us the book, A Fortunate Life. Some of my favourite times were coming in from lunch and being allowed to sit on the floor while he read to us. I remember not wanting him to stop… Mr. Humphries would get to the end of the chapter, and there would be collaborative groans for more. I remember that book being thought provoking and making me feel uplifted, but frustrated at the same time.

Mr. Humphries didn’t treat us like little kids – I mean really, A Fortunate Life is an autobiography about a young boy in Western Australian who basically has every hardship there ever was in life thrown at him, and he still believed he had ‘A fortunate life!’ But, that is one of the things I liked the most about Mr. Humphries – he made us think and question like the young adults we were verging on becoming – and yet still have fun. I can’t tell you the name of one other book we read in primary school – but I still know that one!

I have had wonderful experiences with many teachers throughout my schooling and teaching career, and sadly I have had experiences with teachers whose passion for the job has burnt out. Whether it be the system they are subjected to, or just their love for the job is gone, it is easy to see teachers who make kids light up when they walk in the classroom and sadly, those teachers that don’t light up when they walk into a classroom themselves.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I hope we all have a teacher that we can look back on and think – Wow, they did an amazing job and I am a better reader, mathematician, teacher, person because of them!

I grew up in a small country town, so I can see Mr. Humphries – probably in the aisles of Woolies or Coles, and say thank you for being that teacher for me. I can only hope that when I was teaching, I was able to bring some of the fun and spark to my classroom, that he bought to his own.

The Teach Starter Team’s Favourite Teachers


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My favourite teacher was Mr. McDonald or better-known as… Mr. Mac! He was my year 7 teacher and made learning in the classroom fun by always thinking outside the box! We did do book work, occasionally… but his passion for the outdoors and enjoying life was always a feature in his lessons! We were often outside exploring mathematical concepts or sitting under a tree reading! By far my best school year was with Mr. Mac!



My favourite teacher was my photography teacher Mr West, as he always had great advice and would encourage me to explore different photography techniques.



My favourite teacher was my art teacher, Miss Hooper. She was always bubbly and energetic. Her passion for art always showed through in every lesson, which made me excited to go to class!



My favourite teacher was Miss Herd. She was firm but fair and knew when to be serious and when to have fun with the class. Her passion for sport and adventure influenced my interest in travel, health and fitness. Her love of teaching influenced my decision to became a teacher.



My favourite teacher was my art teacher, Mrs Johnston, affectionately known as Mrs J. She was supportive, encouraging and spent time listening to her students (not an easy task, given we were all angst teenagers). To this day, I have kept in contact with her.



I really loved art, but was terrible at doing it. I got great grades on the written components but was very much average at the sketching, painting, sculpting and collage components. Then my art teacher suggested I work in photoshop and my grades really improved. Now, I do that for a living and love it.



I was very apprehensive when I discovered my Year 7 form teacher was a male! But despite my first impressions, Mr Mack fast became my favourite teacher. He taught English, one of my strongest subjects, and pushed me to challenge myself in my writing. He encouraged me if I ever doubted myself and had high expectations for my work. His ability to bring out the best in me is something I have always appreciated. As a result, I always try to do the same with the students in my class.


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My favourite teacher was Ms Clegghorn. She was my social studies teacher and inspired my love of ancient history, in particular, ancient Egypt.


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