Dear Teacher, Thank you for changing my life
Five famous names with very different stories - and the letters they wish they'd sent to their most inspirational teachers...
Updated: 09:32 GMT, 26 November 2010
A love of the English language: Sister Mary gave Jonathan Aitken his earliest reading lessons
Jonathan Aitken, 68, is an author and campaigner for prison reform. He is a former Cabinet Minister, Member of Parliament, and ex-prisoner. He grew up in Ireland where he spent three years in a TB hospital in Dublin.
Dear Sister Mary,
Thank you for teaching me to love the English language. Thank you for giving me my earliest reading lessons with such loving inspiration during the three years I spent under your care in an Irish TB hospital, aged five to seven.
I have been thinking about you a lot recently after I was taken back to Cappagh hospital near Dublin by the BBC to make a Radio 4 programme, The house I Grew Up In. as soon as I entered my old TB ward, a cascade of vivid and happy recollections about your lessons tumbled from the attic of my memory.
Like most of the children you nursed, I was strapped down on a frame. Immobilisation combined with fresh air was the only cure for TB in the preantibiotic 1940s. So instead of using books, you taught me to read by projecting slides on a screen above my head using a magic lantern.
You were clumsy with this contraption. When its steel plates overheated (as they usually did) you would hop around and cry 'Drat it!' or even 'Damn!' a nun saying naughty words made me laugh. You laughed too.
Do you remember how you would put up a slide picturing the wind and then teach me all the other words for it like breeze, blow, gale, storm, tempest, typhoon or hurricane?
As you imitated these different types of wind by blowing out your cheeks and flapping your nun's habit you captured my imagination. As a writer some 60 years on, I still enjoy searching for synonyms.
Jonathan in the Irish TB hospital as as a child: Immobilisation combined with fresh air was the only cure for TB in the preantibiotic 1940s
Not all the children in that ward survived. I was lucky to make a full recovery. Perhaps that was because you fired up my will to live by communicating your own enthusiasm for learning with such joie de vivre.
You also communicated the importance of having a spiritual dimension in life. not by preaching, but by example.
I well remember how you used to kneel beside my hospital bed saying your prayers until I dropped off to sleep. now, I have come to believe that prayer is very important. So thank you for that lesson too.
With great love and gratitude from your old pupil and patient.
High-achiever: Lorraine Candy left school with no qualifications. She is now editor-in-chief of ELLE
Lorraine Candy, 42, left school at 16 with no qualifications and went on to be features editor of The Times and editor of Cosmopolitan. She is now editor-in-chief of ELLE.
If my memory serves me well you were the last teacher I saw at my Cornish comprehensive 26 years ago. To spare your blushes, I will not use your name.
One sunless afternoon, in an empty classroom I sat opposite you for one of the bleakest chats a teenage girl could have. You told me I was making a huge mistake proposing I leave school at 16.
'Do your A-levels,' you advised, 'then maybe look for a career in the caring professions.'
'But I'm going to be a journalist,' I told you with all the incredulous indignation my teenage self could muster.
'I want to work on a national newspaper or edit a magazine.' You listened, then urged me to consider a job in a nursing home.
I explained I'd been offered work experience on The Cornish Times newspaper and had decided not to return to my sixth form.
After implying I wasn't destined for academic glory (a little painful to hear, by the way) you informed me my chances of success in the media were limited. Rather bluntly, you said that as I didn't have any family contacts in that industry and lived on the edge of Bodmin Moor, I had little hope of being the next Bob Woodward.
Dashed hopes: Lorraine, pictured as a schoolgirl, was told she wasn't destined for academic glory
The conversation took an odd turn as you wittered on about me doing my A-Levels but having a contingency plan if I got German measles and failed them. all in all, it was a rather dispiriting conversation which I am glad I had the arrogance to ignore. and in fact, perhaps it was my indignation at your comments that propelled me forward with such determination and conviction.
So here I am in my third editorship of a monthly glossy. I'm about as qualified as Homer Simpson is to do any of the jobs I've done, but hard work has pushed me through.
I've held senior roles on broadsheet and tabloid newspapers. I've travelled the world, broken exclusives, interviewed interesting people and retained a passion for my job which that careers meeting could so easily have killed.
I should imagine careers teachers never give a second thought to the advice they dished out to past generations of 16-year-olds, but I can only hope you didn't dash too many other hopes.
As the Queen in Alice In Wonderland said: 'Some times I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.' If you are ever to give careers advice again, I would recommend that as a more productive and successful message for teenagers today.
Inspired: Mr Blake was the first teacher who seriously engaged Jon Snow's attention
Jon Snow, 63, is a journalist most famous for presenting Channel 4 News. He attended Pilgrims' School in Winchester.
Dear Mr Blake,
You were the first teacher who seriously engaged my attention. In part because collectively, we nine-year-old boys in your class speculated that you'd had a mysterious war.
Were you once a spy? You had an interesting pinsized-hole in your fine, strong forefinger that suggested a bayonet wound. You spoke of the navy, and we boys thought of Bond, James Bond. You brought English alive for me - literature and language - and I can admit it, I worshipped at your feet.
You seemed to enjoy my adventurous rebelliousness, and I thought then, and think now, that you discreetly encouraged it in that Victorian confine that was our school.
You brought adjectives into my life, and descriptive writing. You liberated me. You let my essays flower, you never ordained what I could, and could not say. You merely set out the systems by which words worked. You taught me with drive and encouragement, never with threat, and found something positive to say even in failure.
I was an academic flop; you were most evidently a scholar. But you were, I can see now, my midway point between my ecclesiastical, classics-educated father, and my exuberant non-academic self.
My parents marvelled that you ever got me off the very bottom of Class 4a.
Dear Rodney Blake, in later life, I could never imagine you running off with the piano teacher, but you did. I spoke to you once on the phone in your rickety runaway garret in New Zealand. a stoical, lonely, sickly old man, you sounded as far from Bond, as I. You died too long ago - but not before I was able to thank you. You were proud of me, and I of you, for the chance your generous care lavished upon me.
Life-changing advice: Mrs Watson told Lionel Shriver to stick with writing
Lionel Shriver, 53, is the author of the bestselling novel, we need to talk about Kevin. She grew up in America and attended Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dear Mrs Watson,
I don't know if you cultivated an intimidating aura, but we were all terrified of you. We sat at our desks pin-drop silent, and even the slackers had always done their homework.
Modern educators would love to know how you did it.
You don't remember me. I was one more tenth grader in your American history class. But I remember you. We all considered you ancient, though you were probably younger than I am now
We were in awe, too, that you were rumoured to have a 'common-law marriage'. These days, even the leader of Britain's opposition is 'shacking up', but in the Seventies in Atlanta, Georgia, that was racy stuff.
One afternoon in your classroom helped to shape my life. You'd handed back a set of tests, and then the bell rang. as we filed out, you announced that you wanted to talk to Lionel Shriver. My heart walloped. What had I done wrong?
Young talent: Lionel aged 16
When everyone else had left, you said: 'Your answers on that test. They were very well written. Have you ever considered becoming a writer?'
'Yes,' I said, my heartbeat still making me feel sick. 'As a matter of fact, I have.'
'Well, keep at it,' you said, and that was that.
I did keep at it, Mrs Watson. I am a writer. But your taking me aside like that has been precious to me ever since. You didn't dole out many compliments (though lately they're cast upon classrooms like sweets at a pantomime).
You're probably dead. But I'd have liked you to know that you were right about a certain gift I had, which teachers like you nourished.
Moreover, anything I know about American history is down to the fact that you made us shut up, keep still, and do the work. That advice has lasted me a lifetime.
New realms of possibilities: Mr Whittaker was the most inspiring teacher Lynne Franks ever had
Lynne Franks, 62, left school at 16 and went on to run one of Britain's best-known public relations consultancies. She attended Minchenden Grammar School in north London.
Dear Mr Whittaker,
You seemed very creepy to us 14-year-olds, especially the girls. The way you stroked the stump of your amputated arm, supposedly a left-over from the war, made us young innocents see you as some kind of devil.
Which is why I find it even more inexplicable that all these years later, I still remember you as the most inspiring teacher I ever had. You encouraged me at every opportunity to have the confidence to be myself, whether standing in front of the class delivering my opinions in debate or writing essays that took my imagination to new realms of possibilities.
English was always my favourite subject and as the main English teacher at my north London grammar school, you saw your role, I see now, as a man of sophistication who was there to encourage any of us who wished to fly, to take leave of our suburban surroundings and join the rest of the world.
Minchenden Grammar School was a typical post-war, eleven-plus, solid kind of establishment where it was presumed girls would become secretaries prior to marriage. and yet a certain degree of individualism was somehow encouraged at school, despite the strict laws about the correct ways to wear our bottlegreen uniforms and how to sing our school song.
A man of sophistication: English was always Lynne's favourite subject
I don't know if you remember how I would often be voted the class captain in charge of our charity dances, would walk around the school with my copy of the NME predicting the next big hits and get in constant trouble with our headmistress for wearing nail polish, hoisting up my school skirt and wearing my 'mod' leather coat instead of my blazer.
It was clear to you and to all my teachers that I wouldn't be going to university. My father was sick with his regular depressions and my mother needed me to help out in the family butcher shop at weekends and after school during my O-levels. and it wasn't as if I was very academic anyway.
I couldn't wait to get out of school and live my life. I wanted to earn my own money to spend on the latest fashions and eventually afford to share a flat with other young women of my age near some remote exotic Tube stop such as West Kensington.
Four O-levels, a brief spell at Pitmans Secretarial College and a couple of jobs as a shorthand typist later, I was on my way. I believe it was because of you, Mr W, that I had the confidence to phone Petticoat Magazine where I got the job as assistant to future newspaper editor Eve Pollard, followed by working with other great Petticoat graduates such as Janet Street-Porter under the editorship of women's magazine pioneer Audrey Slaughter.
Public speaking, writing, taking a leadership role and understanding that I could follow my dreams have all been part of my career as a writer, PR and businesswoman - and Mr Whittaker, I know for sure that it was you who gave me that first confidence to believe in myself.
Thank You, best wishes,
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Teacher is a person in our life who provides many important things together with the good education. A teacher means a lot to his/her students. He/she plays extraordinary roles in our lives from the beginning years of development till we get mature. They mould us and our future accordingly in order to make us a responsible citizen of the country. We have provided below some paragraphs, short essays and long essays on my favourite teacher to help students in completing their essay writing task. All the my favourite teacher essay are written very simply. So, you can select any essay on my favourite teacher according to your need and requirement:
Essay on My Favourite Teacher
My Favourite Teacher Essay 1 (100 words)
My favorite teacher is Rajani mam. She is my class teacher too and takes attendance daily in the morning. She is a strict teacher however very funny and caring in nature. She is very disciplined and punctual. She does her all the works and projects related to the class at right time without getting late. I like her very much as she tries very easy ways to teach us good things. We enjoy her class. She teaches us English subject. She makes us laugh by telling lots of jokes in between when she teaches. She also guides us very well during any school or inter-school competition of dance, sports, academic, etc. She teaches us to share things in class among our colleagues such as lunch or other needed things.
My Favourite Teacher Essay 2 (150 words)
My favourite teacher is my class teacher. Her name is Nisha Gupta. She takes our attendance and teaches us Hindi, Maths and Art subject. She is well educated and taken higher studies from the Banaras Hindu University. She follows very easy and effective teaching strategies to teach us all the subjects. I never miss her class and attend daily. I like the way she teaches us as we do not need to study that subject at home again. We become very clear about the topic she teaches us in the classroom. After clearing the concept of topic, she gives us some exercises in the class and also home work for the home. Next day, she asks questions related to the yesterday topic and then start another topic.
In spite of the subjects, she teaches us good ethics and etiquette also to make us strong by character. May be; she will not be our teacher in next class however; her teachings will always be with us and show us way to difficult situations. She is very caring and loving in nature. She has been the gold medalist in the university she got her higher education. She would always be my best teacher.
My Favourite Teacher Essay 3 (200 words)
Ms. Geeta Goswami is my favourite teacher in the school. I study in class 4th standard and she teaches me EVS (Environmental Studies). She is a good teacher. She cares us a lot and teaches using easy ways. She never takes study very serious and teaches us with entertaining activities. She always comes at right time in the class and never misses her class. We enjoy her class very much as she makes us happy too. She loves me very much as I am her very disciplined and ideal student. I follow her all the orders and do my class work and home work in neat and clean manner daily.
I never become late or absent in her class. She motivates us to always follow right path in the life even we have to face much difficult situations. She tells us that we never become hopeless in difficult situations and search some easy ways to get out of them. She also tells us that never think negative and always think positive as it always happens what we think and do. She describes very well about all the topics of EVS. She wants us to talk in English in her class. She goes to her home with us in the school bus where we enjoy a lot by singing songs and reciting poems in the bus.
My Favourite Teacher Essay 4 (250 words)
My favorite teacher was Mr. Sunil Dutt who taught me English and Maths for 2 years when I was in class 3rd and 4th standard. He was from Varanasi however living in the vicinity of the school. He took his higher studies from the Banaras Hindu University. He was very polite and kind in nature. He knew well about how to handle small children in the class. I still remember him for his unique style of teaching. What he taught to me, I still remember very well as he has made my Maths concepts very clear. Currently I am studying in class 5th standard however still miss him very much. I meet him occasionally whenever I need to solve some tough questions of my Maths subject. He looks very smart with good physique, sparkle eyes and blond hair. I like his good personality and polite nature.
He always smiled when entered to the classroom and first asked to us about our well-being. He also assisted us in the sports whenever our sports teacher was absent. He has smiling face however very strict in the study. He always punished to the students who were with incomplete home works. He is famous for making lots of fun during the class time however students get good marks in his subjects. He is a teacher with good skills of teaching, friendly nature, good sense of humor, patient and easygoing. I am one of the obedient students of him. Sometimes he gave us chocolates on doing well in the class tests and exams. He never gave us lots of assignments at home. He is very enthusiastic and always motivated us for doing our best in the study.
My Favourite Teacher Essay 5 (300 words)
Mrs. Rashmi is my favourite teacher of 6th standard in the school. She teaches us Hindi and Computer subjects in the class. She has very unique personality. She is quite fatty but calm in nature. I always give her a greeting card on the teacher’s day every year. I also wish a good luck on her birthday. She is used to of reciting some jokes in between while taking class in order to make fun and draw our attention towards study. I am not so good in the Hindi subject however do very well in the Computer. She helps me a lot to improve my Hindi language. After taking the class, she always gives some questions to learn and ask for next day.
She takes us to the Computer lab to make us more clear and sure about the Computer. She wants to keep quiet in her class when she teaches. She never leaves her weak students unclear about what she has taught. She makes everyone very clear about any topic and motivates us to ask questions in her class. She never start next topic until we all understand the last one very well. She is very caring and loving in nature as she takes care of all students in the class. No one quarrel or fight in her class. She makes seating rotation of the students on weekly basis so that no one remains weak and unhappy. My all friends like her class and attend daily.
She supports some weak students by giving them over time outside the class. She also helps us to solve the problems other than the study. She promotes us to take part in the sports or other competitions organized in the school. She looks good with her smiling face and supporting nature. She helps us to get prepared for the event celebrations in the school such as Independence Day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti, Teacher’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. Sometimes, when topics over, she shares with us about her struggle period of the life in order to encourage us towards study. She is very friendly and easygoing teacher. We never fear with her however respect her a lot.
My Favourite Teacher Essay 6 (400 words)
My favorite teacher is my science teacher. Her name is Mrs. Sanjana kausik. She lives near to the school campus. She is the best teacher of school and liked by my all friends as she teaches very well. No one feels boring in her class as she makes some fun also. I like her strategies of teaching in the class. She asks us to go through the topic from home what she will teach in the class next day. She teaches that topic in the class and asks many questions to get clear. She also asks questions about the same topic on next day. In this way, we get very clear about a particular topic. She takes test after teaching two or three topics. She loves the teaching profession and teaches us with enthusiasm and passion.
She is very friendly to us and never makes us fear from her. We ask her any question related to the subject in the class or her cabin without any fear. She watches the activity of each and every student while teaching in the class and punishes the naughty ones. She tells us to concentrate on the study and always follow things what your teacher says in the class if you really want success in the life. She never makes partiality between weak and brilliant students in the class. She supports a lot to her weak students and requests to brilliant students also to help their weak colleagues. She tells us to be passionate about our study and aim of the life.
She is very encouraging teacher, encourages us not only in study however also in the extracurricular activities. She cheers personally to the student doing well in the school whether in academic or sports activities. She gives free tuition to her weak students at her home for one hour. Each student does very well in the science subject both in the class tests and exams. She is also the Vice-Principal of the school. So, she performs her all the responsibilities very well. She takes care of the cleanliness and greenery in the school campus.
She never looks serious as she has a smiling face. She keeps us happy in the school like her own kids. She takes care of all the arrangements in the school during any event celebration or competitions organized in the school. She talks to all the students very politely and knows well to handle any difficult situation of the school.