chapter  6
Teachers and special people
‘Nobody forgets a good teacher . . .’
Pages 12

It is 1999 and a 30-second government sponsored teacher recruitment film is playing in English cinemas. A young boy in a school uniform lies, arms outstretched on the sand. There are books around him, their pages blowing in the wind. Cut to a classroom. There are rows of neatly dressed, well-behaved children, black and white, looking in rapt attention at their teacher, eyes misty and mouths open. The teacher smiles as he winds up a model of the Wright brothers’ flying machine. The children imagine a monochrome scene of joy as the Kitty Hawk took to the sky. Mood music swells as the children twirl little wooden propellers into the air, demonstrating the theory of flight. The message: ‘nobody forgets a good teacher.’ The question: a good teacher sets the imagination free – could you inspire young minds? Move forward four years to a Guardian newspaper report on the ‘Teaching Awards 2002’:

A newly qualified English teacher described as ‘weird, wacky and wonderful’ by her students . . . was named last night as one of 10 top teachers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the national teaching awards.