My favorite teacher is my history teacher, and he is by far the best teacher that I have ever had. He has the ability to make a subject that many students find incredibly boring come to life through his enthusiasm and passion for history, and his love of being a teacher. Going to his lessons is something we look forward to, not dread, like we do with most other lessons.
It’s ever so funny to watch him get excited about something, which happens in every lesson. It’s easy to know that he’s getting excited because he begins bouncing up and down slightly in a way that no other sixty-something year old would ever managed without looking completely ridiculous. He has this dark (with more and more grey streaks these days), springy hair that lines the edge of his growing bald patch, and the hair bounces up and down with him like thousands of tiny little springs. Then, he takes on his whole new persona, often going into role and becoming the character or figure he is talking about, doing the voices, the actions, and parading up and down the room gesticulating wildly, but all the while there’s a gentle ‘bounce, bounce, bounce’, as though the springs are not just on his head but on the soles of his shoes too.
A teacher that doesn’t take himself too seriously always will be a big hit with teenagers, although he’s not afraid to impose his authority if he has to. I’ve only ever heard him properly shout once (although thankfully it wasn’t it me), but it isn’t an experience that I would like to repeat. When he lost it, the room suddenly became more silent than I’d ever known it to be before. We all sat slightly paralyzed, not even anting to breathe too loudly, because hearing such a jovial and jolly little man lose his temper was a huge shock. It certainly had the right kind of impact though, because he’s never needed to shout since.
It is actually this teacher that I have to thank for my love of history. In his lessons, history does not mean copying out of textbooks and writing pages and pages of notes. History is alive; history is something tangible, that you can see, hear and feel, and we can live it through dressing up and acting out scenes or taking trips to important places of historical interest. And although he’s getting on in years and may not be teaching for much longer, he will have an important place in history for many of his students, because there has never been a teacher able to bring a subject to life in quite the same way he does.