Inspired by @bjnovak I always say that if I ended up being über-rich, I'd donate to my secondary school, not my university. Those teachers took a shy 12 year old and in 7 years made her into a confident young woman who believed she really could do anything. What a gift.
  1. Mr Sharpe, Year 7 Maths, Stratford-upon-Avon Girls' Grammar
    In an all girls' school, being one of the only male teachers makes you stand out. When you have a ponytail and spend your maths lessons talking to 12 year olds about imaginary numbers and your love of Nintendo video games and the movie, Dogma, you stand out even more. Mr. Sharpe introduced me to the wonders and joy of maths and I was a little in love with him. I went on to study the subject at university and I really wonder if I would have had it not been for the world he introduced me to.
  2. Mrs Dean, Year 10 History, Stratford-upon-Avon Girls' Grammar
    Who makes you watch Dr. Zhivago when learning about the Russian Revolution? Who goes onto tangents about the U.S. system of government & separation of powers when discussing some random part of British history - I can't even remember what now - maybe Guy Fawkes? Who makes you stand up 20 minutes into the lesson to do some "exercise" & "move your body" as she'd read humans can't concentrate for longer? Mrs Dean was weird & wonderful & made me care about politics & world affairs like no one else.
  3. Mrs Langton, Year 11 Latin, Stratford-upon-Avon Girls' Grammar
    Mrs Langton would record tapes of her reading the English translation of our set Latin exam texts (I forget whether Virgil or Pliny - maybe both) so that we could listen to it at home as a learning aid. I look back now and marvel at the dedication. What a trooper. She also let us have "Friday cake time" in the long Friday afternoon Latin lessons - not sure I remember a lot of Latin but I remember how warm and happy those afternoons made me feel.
  4. Mr Stanbridge, Headteacher, Stratford-upon-Avon Girls' Grammar
    I was a bit intimidated by Mr Stanbridge initially - he looked a bit like Mario from Super Mario (not many Brits have moustaches and that immediately made me suspicious..). However he was an awesome headteacher who somehow knew the name of every girl in school - I remember being shocked when he came up to me in the lunch queue and said hello. "He knows my name?!!" Best moment: telling him I'd be skipping school to go and march in London against Iraq/Bush & his wry "I didn't hear that".
  5. Miss Brownhill, Head of Sixth Form, Stratford-upon-Avon Girls' Grammar
    What I most remember about Miss Brownhill (an institution who felt like she's been there longer than the school itself!) are those special meetings she'd hold to school us all on Oxbridge applications & interviews. Her faith in her "girls" was unshakeable and even though I now look back with mixed views on such a strong focus on certain universities (or even the merits of a selective school like mine) it is a rare teacher who takes such a personal interest in the future of each of her charges.