Mr Cracknell is a Hayes School institution. It was well known among the students when I was attending the school that he had been teaching there for over 20 years, and today I popped onto the School website to see that the only member of staff still on the teaching roster from 15 years ago is good old Mr C!
Back in the late ‘90s Mr Cracknell was deputy head of the school. He was the good cop, working alongside Head Teacher Mr Catmull (I am still to meet a scarier person in my lifetime!)
I was lucky to be taught Physics by two of the best teachers that the whole school had to offer (Mr Cracknell and the equally memorable Mrs Slater). I had never been particularly great at the more scientific subjects at school. I could remember less than 10 elements in the periodic table, my frog looked more like a kebab after a messy Friday night than a dissection project and I could never work out why you would want to subtract X from Y (they are letters, not numbers!)
Physics was my one saving grace. Mr Cracknell not only made the subject easy to understand, but he even made learning fun! For the first time I could understand why objects reacted in the way they did, I could picture the forces and I even began to see that there was a practical application for being able to subtract those X’s and Y’s. I can still remember like it was yesterday sitting in his lesson as suddenly the world of physics seemed to click into place.
Due to the nature of the double science GCSE (combining all 3 sciences into 2 exams) my results were dragged down by my lack of application in Chemistry and Biology. However, I was extremely pleased when I eventually got a B overall – thanks to an exceptionally high grade on my physics paper which I credit to the incredible work of Mr Cracknell.
In two years throughout my GCSE’s I was converted from a creative, English and humanities ‘writer’ to a brainy science and mathematics nerd!
I took my A levels in Maths, Physics and English and while I struggled compared to my peers in coming to terms with the advanced algebra required, Mr Cracknell was always on hand to provide extra tuition after school hours and even occasionally during school holidays.
Mr Cracknell was the epitome of a dedicated and inspirational teacher who completely altered my educational path. Were it not for Mr C I could well have been the next William Shakespear, Charles Dickens or Stephen King!
How do you inspire your pupils and who inspired you to teach?
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