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World Teachers' Day: who was your most inspiring teacher?

Today is World Teachers’ Day! At Optimus HQ we’re celebrating the amazing work you do every day by reminiscing about which teachers inspired us when we were at school.

Get involved and tweet us yours at @OptimusEd and follow all the action at #worldteachersday

Evie, SEN & Safeguarding Content Lead

'My two A-level English teachers, Mr Bowden and Mr Austen. They wouldn’t let me give in, they made me laugh and, most importantly, made me see that giving a little more time and attention to someone you believe in can make all the difference, as they did for me. Thanks for the A, chaps!' 

Alex, SBM Content Lead

'My favourite teacher was Mr Wellings. I HATED maths and used to dread lessons but his sheer enthusiasm was infectious. He made lessons fun and unintimidating. I remember him helping me understand long division for the first time and it felt like I’d conquered the world!'

Sara, Production Manager

'I think it has to be two of my primary school teachers. Mr Doleman who inspired a life-long love of learning but always stressed the need for it to be fun too. I always loved school and I truly think that was down to him and his never-ending energy. Also, Mrs Docherty who saw me for the true geek-at-heart I am and nurtured my love of science and maths.'

Lizzie, Training Lead

'I don’t remember one specific teacher who inspired me; but I remember moments of amazingness from many of them. Here are a few.

  • Miss Higgins in maths, who treated us like adults and made each person feel like an individual.
  • Frau Turner in German, who allowed us to work independently yet provided so much support.
  • Mrs Penny, my primary school headteacher, who told me it didn’t matter what people said, I should always aim for the top.'

James, Conference Producer

'Limitlessly cheerful and unwaveringly positive, regardless of the situation. Mr Matthews gave up endless time coaching a woefully inadequate cricket team and an equally uncommitted football team.  As head of sixth form he somehow managed to guide me to eventual success, whilst simultaneously allowing me and a group of uncouth teenagers to explore (and push) the boundaries of acceptable behaviour! Essentially he was a real life Ned Flanders and had an immeasurable impact on my own positive outlook.'

Katie, Content Executive

'My most inspiring teacher was Mr Bateman - my maths teacher. You wouldn’t dare slack in his class, but only because his lessons were fast-paced and his expectations were high. On top of this, he was very funny and friendly… as long as you worked hard! People who thought they would hate maths would find a whole new appreciation for it in his class, and everyone’s eagerness to impress him meant we achieved. He seemed to have infinite knowledge of his subject, but about everything else as well – he would embellish his lessons with lashings of general knowledge, which would lead towards the class event of the year… Mr Bateman’s Christmas quiz. Beyond all this, he was the most supportive, interesting and motivating teacher I ever had.

Matt, Media Sales Manager

'My English teacher (Mr Chivers) when I had just joined senior school. He really helped me understand the power of language and how to make boring sentences interesting with the use of adjectives. My spelling also improved as a result.'

Becca, Marketing Manager

'At AS level I had an inspiring English Literature teacher, Joanna Bailey. She demanded more of me than other teachers. I was your standard high-achieving, low-problem student and therefore was mostly left to get on with it. Not so with Jo, she would make me develop my ideas and challenge them. She was loud, wore high platform shoes and bright colours. I particularly remember our readings of the play Comedians by Trevor Griffiths and Chaucer’s The Miller’s Tale which were raucous, exploratory and embedded both texts in my memory like nothing else. The fun we had in those classes led me to go and study English at university.'

Nish, New Business Manager

'My most inspirational teacher was Mr Metcalf. He was our cricket coach and didn’t look like any teacher I had come across. His youthfulness and ability to connect with students allowed him to develop teaching methods, which would create a very interactive way of learning; it was also very memorable. He seemed to understand teenage behaviour, possibly because he was closer to it than the old age professor who would talk at you rather than teach you.

Because of this he was approachable when struggling with topics and also for any personal advice. I remember being placed in his class in a time where I had struggled with lessons, partly due to disinterest and remember him seeming to think I had potential to excel. But rather than tell me this he tested me through constant questioning in class. Later he mentioned that he could tell I would be embarrassed to answer or not know the question so he knew it would prompt me to learn so I would be ready before lessons, an approach I was far from familiar with.

We built a relationship further when he became my cricket coach. Over the course of secondary school, he acted as a mentor and what I admired was the fact he was fair. He didn’t pull his punches if he thought you were wrong and favouritism never came into question.'

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