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    Remembering a Teacher

    Friday 12th March 2010, 2:01pm

    Off to School in the Mist 3 by Jahina.

    I was asked by the good people behind the London Twestival, to name my favourite teacher.  I named Mr Parkinson.

    Michael Parkinson.  MCP. Sometimes wore a tie with pig on it.  A joke, you see.  And he let us in on it.

    Yes, I chose MCP.    

    Firstly, because although I was only ten when we met, he treated me like a grown up.  What I mean is, he didn’t talk down to us. 

    One day, he had a list of words which he wanted to see disappear from our essays forever.  Banned, they were.  Instead of chalking them up on the board, he made us write them on little scraps of paper.  These were then folded up into tiny pellets, and we had to line up to throw them into the bin, several metres away.  Good shots were rewarded with a sweet.  It was fun. 

    When we became unruly, he wouldn’t get angry. Instead , he would kick us out, all of us,  and send us running round a far away tree, within eyeshot of the classroom.  Around the oak we would run, screaming and chuntering, returning breathless to our seats, to the next poem or chapter.  He knew that our excess energy was unlikely to be burned off by sitting still.

    Finally, he taught us a poem.  I think I’ve shared it before.  It may sound silly, but I think it changed my life.  It’s called ’It’s All In The State Of The Mind’;

    If you think you are beaten, you are,
    If you think you dare not, you don’t,
    If  you think you’d like to win, but can’t,
    It’s almost a cinch you won’t.


    If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,
    For out in the world you’ll find
    Success begins with a fellow’s will—
    It’s all in the state of mind.

    For many a race is lost
    ere even a race is run,
    And many a coward falls
    ere even his work’s begun,

    Think big, and your deeds will grow;
    Think small, and you’ll fall behind;
    Think that you can, and you will—
    It’s all in the state of mind.

    If you think you’re out-classed, you are;
    You’ve got to think high to rise;
    You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
    You ever can win a prize

    Life’s battles don’t always go
    To the stronger or faster man;
    But sooner or later the man who wins
    Is the fellow who thinks he can.”

    Now I know that the idea of a little ten year old with big eyebrows running round a tree then reciting this poem is something bordering on the preposterous.  But I still remember it, by heart.

    So thank you Mr Parkinson.  For making learning fun.  For treating me like a grown up.  For the runarounds and word games. 

    For the poem.  I’ve tried to discover the name of the person who wrote it. 

    It is listed as ‘anonymous’.  Ironic then, that the author’s name has been forgotten.  Unlike yours. 

    Yours, I will remember forever.

    3 Responses to “Remembering a Teacher”

    1. Reading this made me smile. It made me remember my good teachers. They are priceless! The value good teachers provide is the most underrated contribution in this world.

      I hope you sent this link to Mr Parkinson. I am certain it will mean the world to him.

    2. Luke Parnell says:

      Is that Mr Parkinson from KES, Southampton?

    3. Your entry was Brilliant ! about teachers.
      I think we need mentors.
      Your teacher was one for you.
      Graeme

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