At DoodleMaths, we are extremely honoured to work with such inspirational teachers and leaders in education.
Our School Support team are continually amazed and impressed at the extent in which teachers will go to inspire their children and foster a love for maths in particular. Here’s to you on this special day!
To celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week we have put together five of the greatest teachers who have inspired children and educationalists alike, shaping the education children receive today.
Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher but was born a teacher. In the words of his contemporaries, he was known as “the wisest, the most enlightened and courageous teacher” in history.
His teaching method consisted of asking questions, finding the contradictions in students’ answers, and in posing further questions to pinpoint the knowledge about the problem or theory or concept under discussion (K. Masud, 2013).
Socrates’ believed that pupils were not to be treated as empty vessels to be filled with knowledge or facts. Rather, teachers and pupils should embark on a voyage of discovery together. “The teacher does not so much impart knowledge as elicit knowledge. He does not teach, rather he educates, which means to draw out. The teacher stretches the imagination of his students to the limits of their intellectual capacity”.
Erin Gruwell is an American teacher known for her unique teaching method. Though her pupils came from tough inner-city neighbourhoods she was able to inspire them to embrace education where consequently many continued their education to University.
Erin understood the importance of creating a supportive emotional and physical space in order for her pupils to strive. “I was going to show my kids that no matter what happened with their parents, parole officers and other teachers, I wouldn’t give up on them,” said Gruwell.
Erin found importance in encouraging her pupils to write journals. “Every kid has a story,” Erin said. She hoped they would be inspired by the examples of Anne Frank and other teenagers who had turned negative experiences into something positive by writing about them. Consequently she handed out notebooks for students to journal about their lives. Although there was some initial resistance, soon the stories poured out of them, full of anger and sadness. This led to the publication of The Freedom Writers Diary (Sweeney and Gosfield, 2013).
Einstein was a theoretical physicist, teacher and author who is best known for his contributions to the field of general relativity and special relativity. Here are some of Einstein’s top quotes demonstrating the importance of the teaching profession:
“You should try to remember that a dedicated teacher is a valuable messenger from the past, and can be your escort to your future”.
“Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty”.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid” – Albert Einstein
Friedrich Fröbel was a German pedagogue who laid the foundation for the modern education system on the recognition that children have unique needs and capabilities. Friedrich was the first to theorise that education should be shaped by the individual needs of children. Modern educational techniques in Early years are much indebted to him.
In 1837 Friedrich opened an infant school in Blankenburg, Prussia, that he originally called the Child Nurture and Activity Institute and which, by happy inspiration, he later renamed these schools Kindergarten or “garden of children” (Curtis, 2018).
Friedrich’s most important contribution to education theory was his belief in self-activity and play as essential factors in child development. The teacher’s role was not to drill or indoctrinate children but rather to encourage their self-expression through play (Curtis, 2018).
LouAnne Johnson is a retired American teacher who earned a reputation for her unusual tactics to encourage her Californian pupils – including gangsters, wannabe gangsters and other youngsters beaten down by poverty, language barriers and heartbreaking home environments – to overcome their obstacles and learn. As a former second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, Johnson was shocked by the lack of discipline in her classroom, a class who had driven away plenty of substitute teachers, but refused to give up on the pupils.
On one notable occasion, when she caught one of her pupils dozing off during her English lesson she swiped a fresh layer of lipstick over her lips, tiptoed over to the boy snoozing and brandished him with a kiss mark on his cheek! It’s safe to say that no student ever dared to fall asleep in her class again.
Years later her students admitted how her intervention had impacted their lives. Oscar Guerra, then 16, was one of the most rowdy pupils in her class, and recalls how Johnson allowed him to do his homework in her classroom after school so that he could hide his books and wouldn’t lose face with his “posse” of friends. Her dedication had a lasting impact on the pupils she taught, and she is a fantastic example of what can be achieved by teachers, even those facing the most challenging environments (Haddrill, 1996).