They are the ones who have changed the trajectory of your life, though you may have realized it much later. Every kid needs a champion at the most impressionable period of their life. All learning is understanding relationships and every life has invariably been affected by inspiring teachers. Children love to learn from a teacher they love, teachers with whom they share a special bond. Such teachers raise the esteem of a child. This also improves their academic achievement. And Ireland has taken the lead in honoring its teachers who have made a positive impact in the lives of their students.

One thing that every student ought to feel is that they are the chosen ones. They must feel that they are the best students who have deservedly got the best teachers. Because these teachers not only teach the texts but also the art of living.

Now teachers in Ireland who have made a difference in the lives of students have been honored through an initiative, Teachers Inspire Ireland.

The Best Teachers

Teresa Toolan knew that she was doing her duty as a teacher. But her student Frances Dodd knew what it meant to be her student for 2 years. Toolan had been a source of inspiration during those years for Dodd. Dodd believed that she was in the presence of the only angels we are ever likely to ever come across. Teachers like Toolan are blessed with the love of the little children who are trying to find their place in the world.

Anne Moriarty, another invitee to Teachers Inspire, runs Smart Agers, teaching a group for senior citizens in Dublin to use modern technology. She was just “gobsmacked” being nominated to the group. Her name was proposed by Phyllis Lawlor, aged 74. Ann had acquainted her with the world of smart technology and enabled her to contact her son in far off Australia.

400 such inspiring teachers were nominated for the first Teachers Inspire awards by parents, former and even present students. Each story was an inspiring tale that brought forth the capacity of that teacher to inspire their students in different ways. 20 teachers were shortlisted, and one teacher each from the 4 provinces was finally chosen for the ultimate honor. Ann and Teresa were both shortlisted and were in Helix, Dublin to attend the awards night. Both loved the experience.

Their students felt that it was only natural that they should be nominated. Frances felt that the initiative was a great idea because so little is done to thank our teachers. She remembered that her teacher Teresa had been a big influence and an energetic part of the community. For years she helped run the choir and was always there to help it out. Frances herself had been a teacher in Co Sligo at Mullaghroe National School. She felt that what made Teresa different was her inborn compassion.

She realizes now that while teaching is important, what makes the difference is how you treat a child. That stays with the student for life. Teachers like Teresa made the students always feel that they belonged. It was as much about their experience as it was about what was taught to them.

For Phyllis, Ann’s pupil, the Smart-Agers group has opened up her eyes to the use of new technology. It has even helped her immensely in her personal life.

Ann wanted to persuade people to forego their fear of using smart technology in their life. It has helped her students to be more independent. Her group is almost 100 strong and has picked up skills that have helped them bank online. They can also monitor their medicines and communicate with family members living in distant lands.

inspiring teachers

Frances says that her teacher Teresa, 89 now, had taught her much that she takes for granted today. Her love for reading and poetry, and singing in the choir- she owes to her teacher. She inspired her students to realize their full potential.

Other teachers shortlisted include Acting Principal Elaine O’Malley of Merlin Woods Primary School in Galway City. She was nominated for her support for a homeless family last year.

The nominated teachers have dealt with issues as diverse as mental health, climate changes, immigration, and a host of other social issues.

Such inspiring teachers remain in our hearts long after we have moved on to another stage of life. Teachers who are passionate about their subjects can light a flame in us and get us excited about subjects we previously disliked. It is because they are passionate about not only the subject but actually making sure we turn out to be complete individuals. Teachers truly deserve all our love and respect for the immeasurable effort they put in to help us reach our full potential.