What difference does a teacher really make?

Your childhood shapes everything, doesn’t it? As do life’s experiences…  In my case, education offered a safe haven away from an unsettled home. Lessons such as English, German and History were my beacons of light…

Teachers were too… Teachers who left footsteps on my heart. Teachers such as Mrs Brown. She was truly wonderful…

Guiding the class in with the kindest smile, she made German lessons fun. ‘Shouts’ never echoed off her classroom walls; in fact, her voice had the softest tone I’d heard… Yet we listened, soaking up every word.

She treated my shattered confidence with endless empathy and patience. From gentle pats on the arm to encouraging winks, she simply cared… What a difference that made to a quiet soul who so desperately wanted to be noticed.

French lessons were another matter… The teacher used chalk as weapons to wake students up. When chalk pinged off my head to shake me out of an apparent daydream, I lost all respect for him. If he could only nurture using violence, I couldn’t warm to him or the subject. Yet I loved languages… He just never took the time to find out.

Words of wisdom

Who’d have thought that I too would be a teacher years later, and that I too would become a source of inspiration for children in my charge. Interestingly, my tough start in life gifted me this depth of wisdom which I tapped into time and again. 

At a small school full of unwanted children – all in care – I was the only teacher never attacked. Maybe the soft voice, kindness and genuine smiles made the difference… With children streamed into ‘bottom’ sets, I found something amazing in every one. With the child who came to me underachieving – but who really despised himself  – I helped him like who he was.

It’s all about the words teachers use at the right moment; never giving up on a child when they have; finding a way through a wall, or just listening to what a child doesn’t say.

The Lemon Tree way

Do teachers make a difference? Without doubt. That’s why when I founded Lemon Tree Tutors I wanted to bring together a team of special tutors. Special tutors with special qualities. I turn applicants away rather than refer someone who I’d never place with my own children.

Private tuition is about trust after all. That’s why I personally vet our Surrey tutors to make sure each one is qualified, safe and bursting with personal qualities. It’s these which bring out the best in children, after all. Great results always follow! Our breathtaking results are certainly testament to that.

Were you taught by a great teacher who left an imprint on your life? We’d love to hear your story – and what difference they made.


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