The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
What makes a good teacher?
Categories: blogging mums

Teachers come in all shapes, sizes and subjects. Ultimately, they’re one of the most important adult influences over a child outside of the home and family environment.


I have the parental equivalent of a school girl crush on Miniminx’s teacher. She’s pretty and young and the kids adore her. She breathes an air of dignity and calm which I find unusual.

I wonder what makes a good teacher. I asked my daughter
‘Why do we both like your teacher so much this year?’
‘She’s understanding Mum’
What a statement. That’s quite something for a child to say and I think she’s right. She has the charisma and gravitas to pull off the role. She’s like a Horse Whisperer, she’s been teaching the kids yogic breathing before the register so they all start the day calm and collected. She lets the children bring their favourite books from home.

Her teacher last year was also pretty and young, but I didn’t like her that much. She would regularly update the class on her marriage plans, she came across as immature and couldn’t control her class. It was a disappointing year.

Miniminx’s teacher the year before last was a man, he was neither pretty nor young but I adored him and still love to chat to him whenever I see him in the playground. He was the first male teacher she’d ever had and, along with other Mothers, was a bit concerned at how she’d react to this new classroom influence. She came home upset within a few days and said that the teacher had shouted because some of the boys were playing up.

‘What did the boys do when he shouted?’
‘They shut up’
‘But why?’
‘Because he told them he was teaching a class and that they should behave.’

They never played up again. The tone was set. He never had to shout again. It was an interesting journey and calm out of chaos ensued. He helped me find ways to help my daughter overcome her shyness and find her own voice. He encouraged us to look outside school for stimulus and over that academic year, she progressed.At the end of the school year we all clubbed together to buy him a gift token to his favourite curry house and tickets to his football team – he was chuffed to bits. We were unaware at this stage that he was going through an adoption process with his partner and has since cut down his hours to co-parent.

There’s also a sports teacher, who is even less pretty and less young, but he’s hilarious and I always have the mental snapshot of him from a wet and windy Summer Fair a couple of years ago, he was standing under a waterlogged gazebo singing karaoke. And the song? Why Does It Always Rain on Me? by Travis.

But what next?

I know many people who quote a teacher as the inspirational influence over their chosen career, or the champion who helped them overcome parental adversity. I certainly had mine, my Art Teacher battled with my persuaded my Mum to allow me to apply to Art college.

In primary school, I see teachers chasing Ofsted and I’m disillusioned and worried that my daughter will not reach her full potential. I know that several parents are paying for tuition to help their children get along, coincidentally, their children are also in the athletic squad. Am I not being pushy enough I ask myself. Is there some invisible membership I don’t belong to?

What do you all think? Is pushy parenting the only way to get our children into the right place or places or do we have to roll with it and let them find their own way?

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5 Comments to “What makes a good teacher?”

  1. I was just talking about this with a friend the other day. Last year my daughter had an excellent teacher, probably the best in the school. She had come home so tired from all the learning. This year we don’t have the same. Different chidlren get on with different teachers … but when ou get that good one thank your lucky stars.
    .-= A Modern Mother´s last blog ..Why you will never, EVER make money from your mummy blog =-.

  2. BoozleBox says:

    Oh what a timely piece! I’m considering getting a tutor for Thing 2 at the moment – not because I’m a bonkers,competitive parent who wants her child to be in the top-spot but just because his current teacher seems to be failing him spectacularly at the moment and I think enough is enough. He has a great mind and terrible hand-writing and we’re now in a place where his failure to write like everyone else is colouring his whole experience of school as that seems to be all they bang on about.

    I’ve always resisted the whole tutoring thing because I think it’s a waste of time. It’s been hard because the competitive/neurotic parenting craziness, especially where I am in West London has reached epic proportions. However, we’ve had some wonderful teachers and Thing 1 is doing just fine in a normal state school without any extra help despite most of his friends being tutored to within an inch of their lives.

    That said, I would regret it if I looked back and thought Thing 2 would have benefited from some extra help and I hadn’t got it for him. So that’s where I am now – looking for a suitable tutor.

    As for other extra-curricular stuff I take the view that my kids can try whatever activities they fancy but they have to want to keep going. I just can’t face the grief of dragging them to stuff they don’t want to do.

    I think I should probably shut-up now.

  3. Expat Mum says:

    By far the best teachers are the ones who chose to go into that profession for reasons other than it would fit in with their own kids’ schedules or they couldn’t think of what else to do. When I was little very few of my teachers seemed to like children let alone enjoy teaching – and they had a helluva lot less to do than teachers today.

    My kids are lucky enough to go to an excellent school where most of the teachers are truly inspirational. However, even with good teachers, there can be some personality clashes meaning that your child can have a ho-hum year. Just have to get through it and move on.

  4. Hi, I loved this post! I’m a teacher, always wanted to be actually, though found it utterly draining & it took over my life. Did the whol stress/burn out thing too! I now teach 2 days a wk v small classes (I live in a developing country) wch I find perfect! it’s funny as a teacher though, you rarely know if you have inspired or influenced students, you rarely even get a thank you. I have so appreciated the notes of appreciation I have had from a handful of pupils. You do a lot of soul searching, often asking yourself is it worth it, am I having any effect? etc. Th eday to day reality, much like bringing up children i sthat even tho you KNOW it is signifiacnt & so importnat , much o fteh time it doesn’t feel so. Plse do tell the teachers how you appreciate them. Believe me it will make their day!

    • admin says:

      Wow now that’s a great comment – I will definitely let them know although that would have been a bit difficult today, since it’s World Book Day and the teachers were dressed as the Seven Dwarves, oh and a couple of Peter Pans and a Witch so hard to take them seriously! Love your blog by the way.

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