Teachers are the people who have the job of educating today’s youth. But it is so much more than a job. It is a calling, for those who would take on the responsibility of moulding and shaping the future. It is a profession for those brave souls who would stand before a room of fresh, untouched minds, and attempt to give to them a piece of your passion, not just for the subject but for learning itself.

A good teacher can impart knowledge, so that a student may learn, memorise, and form opinions. A great teacher can inspire, motivate and stimulate the mind, lifting their students to greater heights than they had ever dreamt possible. It is those people, those mentors and friends, that we look back upon and cherish. These people are milestones in our life, whether they are a school teacher, sport instructor, or merely a significant role model. They are some of the people who influence us the most.

The average teacher will spend 8 or so hours a day simply at school, not including lesson preparations, revising, drafting, and marking. It is one of the most demanding {occupation]s because the mental energy that goes into teaching takes its toll. Then there are those teachers who go beyond the call of duty. Those dedicated Heads of Department and Heads of House, those who voluntarily organise student councils, charity groups and leadership bodies. The teachers who mark English drafts when they get insomnia, those dedicated maths teachers who stay back after school to conduct tutorials when extra time is needed to get the point across. Then there are those who write entire textbooks as well as coordinate the grade’s preparation for the state’s standardised testing. There are those who will take the time to care not only about how a student is coping in the classroom, but how they are coping with life. To take a moment out of their day to say how much they appreciate the effort they have put into their studies, their leadership commitments, the community at large. These small things can make a huge difference.

Teachers must be humble, the best teachers are the ones who learn from their students, they are the ones whose minds are open enough that they can accept the possibility of change, of new ideas, of revolutionary concepts. The best teachers are always learning, they must never stagnate or fall into the trap of thinking they know everything. And they must try to pass on this humility and thirst for knowledge to their students.

I have had some fantastic teachers in high school, but the best teacher I ever had was my Year 4 teacher in primary school. One day, we were learning how to tell the time on an analogue clock, and I pointed out loudly how embarrassed I would be if someone were to walk into the classroom. I mean, I was reading classical literature and they couldn't read a clock. Gently, he took me aside and pointed out that some kids in the class weren’t as advanced as I was, and he put me with one of those kids and gave me the much more interesting task of helping her to understand. I learnt an important lesson about humility that day, and it has stayed with me ever since. And I discovered that a passion for passing on and receiving knowledge can overcome any barriers that might exist between teacher and student.

I would like to share with you now one of my favourite quotes, written by a famous writer on the martial arts, yet I believe it applies equally to all disciplines.

The Way is not static and dead.
Learn from the old Masters,
do not worship them.
Learn from the your teachers,
do not blindly follow them.
Learn from your students,
do not assume you know all the Truth.

- Elmar T. Schmeisser

Teachers must want to make a difference in the lives and futures of their students. Never underestimate or doubt the power you have to enthuse and inspire those around you. Through God, your positive influence can be a force of great impetus and change in the life of another. It is a serious responsibility to impart knowledge. To do so with talent, style, grace, intelligence, compassion and love should be what each teacher desires and strives for. Enjoy the moments that you are appreciated, you deserve every one of them.

Written in tribute of teachers for World Teacher's Day, 5th October.


It’s eight o’ clock of a July morning in Southern Greece and the air in the school is like greasy, luke-warm stew. You enter the classroom and there you find ten or so fifteen-year olds whose silence and stricken, defeated bearing might lead you to suppose that their families have just been wiped out by an earthquake. The truth is far worse: they will have to stay here for a whole two hours, which is a hundred and twenty minutes, that is to say seven thousand, two hundred seconds, before it is ten o’ clock and they are released. (But only until tomorrow.) First thing is to cool the place down a bit, because your clean and freshly-ironed clothes already feel like cling-film, and you would swear that there are great flabby spuds and squashy carrots afloat in the room. You aim the remote control and activate the elderly air-conditioning unit, disturbing the peace of its resident cockroaches. The air stirs slightly; a stale, spooky waft of old churches. Then, because eight other teachers in eight other classrooms have just done the same thing, the air conditioner packs up and instantly it’s as if a hot, wet dishrag has been flung in your face. Nothing else for it, the sooner we begin, the sooner we dissipate this stony-faced gloom.

We make it through to ten o’ clock, and even the too-cool-for-school boys have occasionally been cajoled into looking as if they were interested. Teachers get a break before the next bunch of students arrives. I am the only English member of staff and so the only one who drinks hot tea in forty degree heat. I tip the chalky water and drowned cockroach out of the kettle, and brew up. Yes, I know it’s forty degrees. No, if you drink hot tea, you radiate heat and feel cooler. No, I bloody hate iced Nescafe.

Round two. ‘Sir, I’m ill, can we turn off the air conditioning?’

So long as we open the window.

‘But sir, there’s a draught.’

That is the point of opening the bloody window, it’s forty two degrees Celsius in here.

‘But sir, I’m ill.’

It is widely believed here that if you sit in a draught, change your socks, open a window or drink cold water on a hot day, you’ll be floored by fever and it’ll be your own silly fault, or mine, for abusing kids by opening windows in a heat wave.

You’ll live, I say, hard as nails.

We play alibis, which is a laugh, usually. Kids in groups imagine they were together the previous evening and must all have the same watertight story. The group is then separated and interrogated by another group of ‘police’ who try to trip them up and expose discrepancies in their stories.

‘Sir, I’m sitting with my back to the air conditioner. It’s dangerous.’

Turn round, then.

‘Now I can’t see the board.’

Your case is parlous indeed.

‘What does that mean?’

It’s finally twelve thirty. Ite, missa est.


They leave, squabbling about the alibi game. At least they are squabbling about something connected with the lesson.

Evening. The school has been shut up between one and six, and as it is on the first floor of the building, rising heat has been gathering and festering for five hours. You feel as though you have been brushed with melted butter and had a fan heater trained on you. This evening I have bagsed the computer lab. A bunch of fourteen-year olds are preparing for an exam in which they might be required to ‘write a report for a boss’. Fourteen-year olds do not write reports for bosses, so in an attempt to introduce the idea, I have given them in pairs a letter from me, pretending I am the boss of a travel company. I’ve asked them to imagine they are in England and they have to supply me with various bits of info about various cities, which info they will find online. Later on we’ll try to knock up a report. It’s not only the concept of report writing that puzzles them.

‘Sir?’ says Panagiotis, who is looking at the website for the Arundel House Hotel in Cambridge. ‘It says here it’s a ‘nineteenth century building’.'


‘So how come it’s got telephones?’

Eight o’ clock! Right, everybody sod off. Wham! It's as though I've operated ten ejector seats. They’ve vanished before I can phonate the /f/, or the final phoneme of what I actually did say.

I live five minutes from the school. I take the stairs to my flat, avoiding the lift because once I spent three quarters of an hour trapped in it when the power failed, as it frequently does in summer. People came to check on me periodically: ‘can you breathe?’ I considered not answering, to see if they would call the fire brigade to get me out quicker. Home! The best part of the day is shutting your door on the rest of the world. First I cuddle the cat, then have a cold shower and after that I can finally dive into the sequence of icy vodka and tonics I've been fantasising about since six.

Αυτά, για την ώρα. That’s it, for now.


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Teach"er (?), n.


One who teaches or instructs; one whose business or occupation is to instruct others; an instructor; a tutor.


One who instructs others in religion; a preacher; a minister of the gospel; sometimes, one who preaches without regular ordination.

The teachers in all the churches assembled.
Sir W. Raleigh.


© Webster 1913.

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