COLUMN: Wirksworth students inspired by a good teacher

Head of Anthony Gell School Wirksworth Malcolm Kelly
Head of Anthony Gell School Wirksworth Malcolm Kelly

We can all probably remember really well one or two of the teachers who taught us when we were in school all those years ago. We’re unlikely to remember everyone who has taught us in the same level of detail, so what was it about those few teachers that makes them more prominent in our memories?

A teacher should inspire a student - encourage the student to be aspirational and believe in themselves, they should broaden the student’s horizons and introduce them to new and exciting opportunities and give the students the skills and the confidence to explore. The teachers we remember most vividly are likely to be those teachers who did exactly this for us. They will have believed in us.

Last week I was fortunate enough to speak to a group of students from Anthony Gell who had spent the previous day in Derby University. A teacher had taken them to the university’s science laboratories and introduced them to an expert in the field of entomology and microscopy. They had been given access to gold plated bees and been shown how to study these insects using a £200,000 electron microscope.

These students enthusiastically told me about how much they had learned and showed me images of the bees (which, at that level of magnification, more closely resembled a creature from Dr Who).

As the conversation developed it became clear that for all of these 11-14 year olds, this had been their first trip to a University. For many it was the first time they’d even considered university as a possible option, but this had now changed. Each of them had been inspired and each had been encouraged to aspire. They had seen a glimpse of what was possible and they wanted more.

None of this would have happened without a teacher who cares. Perhaps, twenty years from now, it’ll be this teacher who these youngsters remember. Perhaps, twenty years from now, one of these students will be the expert in microscopy and entomology who is called upon to host a group of talented school children who are also eager to learn and explore.