I remember once being asked which adult had the biggest influence on you when you were growing up. It's a question I've always found it very difficult to answer but this morning it came to me so I thought I'd write a quick blog about it. I think it was my maths teacher at school, Mrs Lumsden. So why was that?
Here's the deal, Mrs L (or Lumo as she was more commonly referred to) was an absolute dragon. She enforced discipline with a rod of steel and everyone was terrified of her. Now this is not going to be some cheesy comment about the life lessons I learned through her because, while I believe in discipline in schools, I maintain to this day that she was such a dragon that it actually back fired at times and she got very little respect in the class room. She was far too strict. Even in the 6th form we had to line up outside the room and ask to take our blazers off. Totally unnecessary.
So why was she such an influence?
When in the 6th form I found out about the charity work that she and her husband (who was my physics teacher, and you couldn't wish to meet a more different man, strict yes, but he showed kids some respect as well) did for a charity called PHAB who run camping holidays for disabled teenagers with able bodies teenagers buddying them. Eventually I got involved myself and went along myself ( I might write about my experiences another time) a number of times and loved it.
What I saw there though was this totally different side to the dragon that existed in the class room. She was kind hearted, gentle, compassionate, (still tough though, she stood for no nonsense even then!) and generally completely different.
It showed me how complicated human beings can be, how what you see one day is not what you get the next, that people are not good or bad, brave or shy etc, they are so much more than that. And that is why my maths teacher was my biggest influence.