To my teachers “THANK YOU”
Since I have started travelling the globe and World Schooling my 7yr old son it has really brought home what a massive responsibility educating children is and has drawn me to reflect upon the impact that my own teachers have had upon my life. Incredible really given the fact that my full time education only in fact spanned for 12 years (age 5-17) and I have now been out in the big wide world of adulthood for a shocking 31 yrs. (I am saying that to myself very quickly as I actually find it hard to believe!!)
I guess I am one of the lucky ones as I look back on all of my school days as very happy ones, but I suppose like most children and teenagers I never appreciated them at the time. I certainly never appreciated my teachers in the way I should have done, nor the impact that they were to have on my entire life.
I feel truly blessed that I have such fond memories of all of my early years teachers, even the stricter ones! My deeper reflections however are of my secondary school teachers because it was at this stage of my education that subject teachers replaced the year group teachers that had guided me through infants and primary education and at this stage we also had to prepare to take the dreaded ‘options’ which at the age of just 13 sign posted the way to our adult life and career. Many of the choices made regarding options were also primarily based on whether you liked the subject teacher or not. For instance I have had a life long love of the world and geography yet I dropped it as an option simply based on the fact I didn’t like2/3 of the geography teachers and there was a pretty good chance I would get at least one of them for a further 2 years …(when you are 13 these things are important!)
As an adult what I have come to realise is that there were two types of teachers in secondary school – those who taught you to pass exams, and those who inspired a life long passion of endless learning. I was fortunate to have two of the latter: Mr Aedan Kerney (Music) and Mr Tim Rose (History). These two men probably have no idea how much they have inspired and shaped my life over the years and possibly until today I have never truly expressed my appreciation to them.
Although I have never directly followed either subject as a career path, both have continued to hugely influence my life and inspire me greatly in my current professional role as a celebrant and educator.
Music has always been a massive part of my life, it has enriched me greatly in ways I cannot even being to describe and I have continued to sing in many circles – from local am-dram societies and choirs, through to spending several years as a member of the Royal Choral Society in London. Music has connected me to some of the loveliest people in my life and created some of the most beautiful friendships that I could have ever asked for. I am also grateful that due to the incredibly tight knit community that Aedan Kerney created within our school music block that many of those teenage friendships still remain strong today. I know that echoes through many many year groups and generations who were a part of Boundstone Music. I don’t believe that there was ever another teacher who was so dedicated, passionate and committed as Aedan was, nor who gave so much to so many. I was elated for him when I heard he was awarded with an M.B.E. but I wonder if he truly realises just how far the ripples of what he gave to his students during their school years reached out long into their adult lives and indeed passing their music passions on to their children as well.
My history teacher Tim Rose equally inspired me during my school days, and even in my adult life I have come to recognise and respect him personally as a man to admire & aspire to.
I remember clearly that as part of my O’level history we studied the industrial revolution and the development of canals & railways etc. Now having a son of my own who is train obsessed I have been able to feed his passion at the same time as educating him, and at the age of just 7 as part of his world schooling I have been able to enrich his learning by passing on the knowledge that I learnt from Mr Rose at 15/16 for my O’levels. Just this week we visited the GWR Steam Museum in Swindon and I found myself talking to Cameron like an expert about Stephenson’s Rocket and Isambard Kingdom Brunel etc, and it dawned on me just how much I had retained from 30+ years ago and just how interesting I have found history & humanities to be throughout my adult life – really thanks to this one man. Tim Rose didn’t just take me through my O’levels, but opened the door to an incredible journey of life, and a love of life long learning.
Of course our adult lives are shaped by many teachers, from the early years ones who taught us to read, write and dream, through to our the secondary school ones who taught us how to turn our dreams into reality.
Life hasn’t always been easy, but I have been able to now do pretty much everything I have ever wanted to do and I have achieved more than I ever dreamed I would ever be possible.
So to Mr Kerney, Mr Rose and many more whom I learnt from throughout my own childhood & teenager years – I might not have said it then, but ‘Thank you’ from the bottom of my heart for shaping my life and helping to make me the person I am proud to be today. 🙏🏻
In my admiration for teachers, I cannot write this blog without failing to mention my own brother Mark, who rose to become Acting Principal of a Private Catholic Girls School in San Francisco despite living for 9 years with H.I.V. and then slowly dying of AIDS related illnesses at the age of 37. His commitment to his school and to his pupils never wavered until his illness really took a hold of him making it impossible for him to continue. Prior to that he would still put in a full days work giving his all for those children, despite going home & being seen to barely be able to walk from his car to his apartment due to the neuropathy which caused him agony in his feet & legs. Friends regularly heard him screaming & crying in pain from his room, but never did he allow it to effect his commitment to his teaching. THAT my friends is dedication and a man who even from beyond the grave still inspires and teaches me every single day. If I can aspire to be even half the person that he was then I will leave this world a very contented person.