School years were not the happiest of my life, that statement is definately an understatement. I hated school with a passion, well not school as much as the bullies in them. Both in Primary school and secondary school I was the victim of bullies. Something I will be writing about this month as part of Anti Bullying Week. But in between the negative times of my school years there were positive ones too. I dont remember the positive ones enough but on Sunday whilst watching the Teaching Awards on iPlayer it reminded me that actually there were a few good teachers that made a difference to my life.
In primary school it would have been Ms Lowdell and Mrs Oldham. My two year 4 teachers. They were simply amazing. They worked together. 2 and a half days each. None of us had favourites because they were both so lovely in their own ways. I remember them helping my best friend stop sucking her fingers, they were determined that she would stop and in the end they found a way to make her stop. We had a lovely big classroom, it was one of the newer ones in the school and it was light and airy. We had lots of plants that we were allowed to look after and they were both always there to talk to if you needed someone to listen to you. I’ve seen them both in the past few years since I had Simba and they have been so excited to meet him and see how I’ve come through what was hellish school years. I remember when we used to still go to the schools summer fayre, me and my friends would seach them out for one of their special hugs and to see how they both were.
Secondary school the teaching level was pretty appauling for the most part I have to admit. Half the time our teachers could barely speak english let alone control a classroom. By Year 8 new bullying had started and my attendance in school started to dip significantly. Many teachers made my life hard for this but a few went out of their way to help me. Mr Sheehan my Geography teacher was one of them. He was a young teacher, cant have been many years out of university, very strict and firm and generally came across quite cold. However he had a softer side and when on your own with him he was the sort of teacher you could open up to and talk to and on a few occasions I did.
Then there was my welfare officer at my secondary school. Quite frankly? She was my angel in disguise. In 2004 things with the bullying got really bad and my attendance was getting seriously low. The school had picked up on this and Mum had some meetings with them. Initially it was arranged that I would only attend mornings and if I needed to leave sooner then I could I just had to find Mrs Obrien, my angel. Eventually however even this got too much and in the end Mum had a meeting with the school in which she told them if I came in another day she didnt know what I’d do. I was broken. And from then on I no longer went in. Mrs Obrien arranged and liased with my teachers to give me the work. She would go around all my teachers, collect the work, I’d come and pick it up, I’d drop back anything I’d done and then I’d go home and do the fresh lot. It saved me in many many ways. During this time Mrs Obrien was also a fantastic ear and always had time to listen to me. She would hug me as I sobbed and praise me when I achieved small goals. I’ll never forget the day I told her I was pregnant. I was in for exams, we had arranged with miltary precision how I would be in and avoid those I didnt want to see and before we started that military operation Me and Mum asked to have a quick word with her. All the offices were busy so we ended up in the school hall, this massive echoy room. At which point I blurted out something along the of ” I’m 3 months pregnant” and she quite literally squeeled and then looked at Mum for her reaction and when she saw Mums smile realised that it was all good! She was so excited for me and knew being a Mum was going to do me the world of good, and she was right. It did. After I had J it took a while before I was able to walk and leave the house at all but I knew I needed Mrs Obrien to see him. In early December when we were due to be collecting our coursework. I could still barely walk but we arrived at the school and I was determined that I would push his pram into the school no matter how much it hurt. And I blooming well did. Mrs Obrien was extactic to see him and that I had remembered her and come back in to show him to her. I wasnt fussed about any of the other teachers. A few walked past and noticed and were somewhat shocked.
But then of course life took over and I havent spoken to her in ages. I have however decided that I will write to her as it would seem she is still at my old school! Along with Mr Sheehan. Ms Lowdell had to retire on medical grounds and Mrs Oldham is enjoying her retirement writing and playing with her new Grandchildren. Its funny how some things change. And some dont.
Its funny how one person can touch your life and make such a difference.
It’s funny how those associations in school with teachers and staff shape your future.
For good and for bad.
Who was your inspiring teacher? Did you have one?