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Inspirational teachers – Teaching Award winners share who made an impact on them 

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Inspiring teachers, Professional Development, Teachers' reflections

Teacher in a classroom

David Horn, Andrew Szydlo, Anthony Bennett and Paul Phillips have dedicated many years inspiring young people - in September they were awarded with this year’s Lifetime Achievement silver Teaching Award.

We asked them to share with us which teachers made an impression on them in their lifetime and what it is about teaching that they love.

Which teachers have inspired you?  

David: Mr Hudgell, who taught me English at secondary school. What a teacher he was. He loved his subject and conveyed a passion, great knowledge and enthusiasm. But what made him stand out was his relationship with his pupils. He genuinely cared and made sure we knew it. He saw something in me which I did not see in myself.

Like many others, I lacked self-confidence. One day, at the end of a lesson he pulled me aside and gave me a book, Lord of the Flies, to take home, read, and feedback my thoughts to him. He said that he was unsure whether it was a book we should read as a class and he wanted my opinion. To say I was stunned was an understatement. No teacher had ever trusted me in that way. I felt ten feet tall. I wrote a lengthy review of the book. He thanked me, we talked about the book and he said, based on my feedback, we would study the book as a class. I am sure he always intended to do so, but he found a way of boosting my confidence and self-esteem.

47 years later, I still remember it!

Andrew: Mr Burrow was my inspirational science teacher in form 2G at Latymer Upper School (1961-1962), and my chemistry teacher in the third form. Although he was very strict, he was an extremely popular teacher showing us fantastic chemistry experiments with a great sense of humour.

Anthony: I have been fortunate to have many fine teachers - Mr Brophy at Abbey Road Primary School, who actively encouraged me to produce my own shows. Mr Roy Pike at Torquay Grammar, who taught us all history and politics but also how to think with intellectual curiosity!

Helen Baron, Allan Clarke and especially Peter Winn at North Cheshire College, who mentored me through my degree and beyond. However, I must add that many other 'teachers' were a big influence on my life. These include my parents, Pam & Harry, and Mr Victor Farr who never had the opportunity to train as a qualified teacher but who voluntarily ran the local Co-operative Youth Club and gave so many youngsters such guidance and encouragement in sports and arts activities.

Paul: So many teachers have inspired me. At school, my favourite teacher was Miss Duffield who taught English at Whitchurch High School. She was strict, she was fearsome, but the passion she had for the subject and her learners was unique. I have never forgotten her influence and brilliance. She taught an errant 18-year-old so much!


What do you love about teaching?

David: I love teaching for many reasons, but two stand out. One is the relationship you develop with your students. When you get it right, you can see them grow in confidence in front of you. They achieve things they never believed to be possible and they are happy. That is magical.

The second reason I love teaching is its complexity. It is a puzzle to be solved. It’s a craft. You never fully crack it. The best schools recognise this and create a culture where teachers share practice and learn from one another. They allow teachers to take risks in the classroom and not fear failure.  It is a creative enterprise and we never stop learning.  I love this about teaching.

The joy of being a senior leader is creating the culture and the conditions where the above becomes possible for all.

Andrew: I love chemistry but I enjoy answering the questions which children ask even more. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction that I am helping young people. Children are always enthusiastic and keen to learn if they are approached and taught in the right way.

Anthony: All jobs have their challenges, but teaching can offer so many wonderful opportunities too. It is a blessing to get to work with so many talented people - students and staff. I think it also helps keep you up to date; you really have to remain aware of what's happening in the world. Working with young people can be so inspiring. Seeing people across the years is a great privilege and fascinating human insight. As a head of drama, one can hopefully make important decisions about creativity, the delivery of arts and the ethos of one's school.

Paul: I love both teaching and being a senior leader because I can bring about significant change in people and society. In my role as Principal of Weston College, I believe I have changed the whole college ethos in terms of recognising the potential of every learner. Moreover, I have contributed to the economic regeneration of a seaside town – a college turning over £8m is now one turning over in excess of £65m yet we still have a fully inclusive approach for every learner.


Celebrating teachers

The National Teaching Awards recognise excellence in teachers, schools and education professionals across the UK. This year the Department for Education is once more sponsoring two Teaching Awards - Lifetime Achievement and Outstanding New Teacher of the Year. 

The gold winners will be announced in a week of celebrating teachers on the BBC One Show from Monday 23rd to Friday 27th showcasing teachers’ great achievements. 

You can read more about all of this year's silver winners on the Teaching Awards website.

Say thank you to those teachers who inspire you!

If you would like to show how much you appreciate a teacher,  send a free Thank a Teacher e-card today.

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