A bolt from the blue, of the loveliest kind

Extracts from a message which came, out of the blue, from a young lady I taught for a very short time, a very long time ago. This one goes out to all the teachers who’ve had a tough day/week/year as a reminder of the difference we make, even when we don’t realise it. And a tribute to Kevin too.

Hello Miss Kell,

To think I am almost 24 years old and still referring to you as ‘Miss’- you haven’t been my teacher for almost a decade!

This message is most definitely out of the blue! And I can’t even be sure you remember me, but I wanted you to know that I have been reading your blog and it has been truly inspirational.

I stumbled across it when I was trying to find information on Mr Mckellar’s death, a tragedy which hit me hard. He became headteacher only a year or two before I left Hendon school, the changes he had made in that little time were drastic but significant. I remember the colours he painted the walls which bought light to my life, and the fountain which he placed outside the ‘snack bar’ which would never be switched on.

I remember the assemblies he would hold. Mr Mckellar would tell us of his love for the Zebra- and I remember at the time wondering why we were being forced into listening to these stories.

Now, older and wiser- I understand. I understand how each significant story has been embedded in my mind and helped to develop my morals and values. I understand why the walls were painted so bright and the significant part colour plays in my life. I understand why Mr Mckellar would prance in and out of classrooms, voicing trivia. I now understand the impact and the significance these situations and stories have had on my life.

Reading your blog has been having a similar impact. Reading about how you juggle your numerous responsibilities makes me believe that I can manage mine! Taking advice from you on how to brighten the difficult days has bought a smile to many of my colleagues’ faces! Your passion and love for what you do reminds me why I do what I do. Although completely different professions, the love, ambition, passion and drive is infectious! I have always loved what I do, but you make the bad days better.

I guess what I am really trying to say is thank you. Not just to you, but to all the teachers who put your hearts and souls into teaching even the most difficult students. When I was at Hendon School many many years ago, the calibre of students did not make it easy on you. Yet you all did it. Today, it has made all the difference to the lives of numerous young people.

I remember Mr Hall being my head of year, (I wish I could remember his name so that I could perhaps find him on some sort of networking site!) and telling me on my last day that although I wasn’t always the easiest student, one day I was going to be something great. I wasn’t a terror of a student, but I was easily distracted, easily influenced by those who were ‘cool’ and had a cheeky way about me. I loved to see how far I could push my luck. Those words he said on that final day to me, in his office, located in the humanities corridor, have always stuck with me. I have now mastered how to use once negative traits to my advantage. Mix cheeky luck pushing with a smile, a please and a thank you and it’s surprising how willingly people will help you!

So once again, thank you. There are so many great teachers out there who have had significant impacts on the lives of many of us. When we are young we don’t know right from wrong, we don’t know how to show appreciation and we don’t know how what you teach us is going to mould us. As a ‘young adult’ I now understand, and I hope this message gives you the motivation to continue and the faith to believe that everything you are doing impacts, perhaps not all, but many lives. You built the future & the lives of many lie in your hands. What you do is amazing- thank you.