Going back and giving back

Published 1 July 2019
By Sandra Macfarlane

For me, the teachers who stick in my mind are the ones that gave me their time and effort, and really prepared me for my future. I chose to train as a teacher so that I could do the same and give something back.

One of my proudest moments was helping a student to achieve an A* General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) in her religious education exam, despite having a target grade of a D.

I always say to the pupils, ‘Ignore that target, put yourself at the target you want to achieve. It’s just a computer somewhere that has calculated that, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get a D. I think you’re going to get something far greater.’

Giving pupils a push to get that grade makes the biggest difference to them and then when they get it, it’s just amazing. It makes you feel like you’ve done your job so well. You’ve helped them with something that’s going to make their lives much easier and better.

This particular pupil went on to study A levels at the school, with her top GCSE grade providing a major confidence boost.

Once she got her A*, it gave her everything she needed to see that she could achieve anything. When she got her results, she spoke to me and said, ‘It was your teaching style and it was you who made that possible. You’ve given me the time and energy to help me get what I needed to get.’ That was just a phenomenal experience.

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