I don’t come from a family of teachers. We actually only have one teacher in the whole family, and he married in!
My father is a broadcast journalist and my Mum is a retired benefits advisor. Between them, they make up the most dynamic teaching team I’ve ever encountered. Our Mum was the one making sure our homework was done (even on occasion, doing our homework) and that we were learning our spellings and times tables, Dad was teaching us life skills and making sure we always picked our battles correctly (as well as teaching us how to fight those battles).
I’ve often said that my Dad should “get into teaching” to quote the DfE, but his answer is always the same.
“No, I don’t want to teach, I want to inspire”, but surely those are one and the same?
Although he has worked for most of his career in the media, he has close ties to the education sector. He gives inspirational talks at end of year awards ceremonies, and acts as a Master of Ceremonies at assemblies.
He doesn’t realise that he is already a teacher and has been for years!
With all the best intentions, I was never going to be a “brilliant” student. I was easily distracted, creative and received regular reports stating “Lydia would really excel if only she could put as much effort into her work as she does into her classroom conversations.” I would get bored easily and preferred to be writing stories rather than writing essays. Dad never minded, so long as I put my all into whatever I did.
Last week, Jamie Oliver told the media that he often encourages his daughter to skip her homework and will be “surprised” if any of his children end up at university. Dad didn’t go as far as this, but he always encouraged us to go our own way, my way just happened to be university!
After thirty years I’m still learning from him every day.
The lessons I learn from him now aren’t about English and History, they are about standing up for myself, being the person I am rather than the person I pretend to be and of course, inevitably, how to drive!
It was from him I learned the art of debate and how to develop an argument and now my weekends are often spent pulling out my soap box and discussing the state of the nation with my Dad.
The most important thing I ever learned from my father was “good leaders take people with them” and whenever I have stood at the front of a classroom, that is the ideal I have tried to emulate.
Who is your inspiration? Join the conversation on Twitter #BeTheInspiration.