What might it be about the teaching that increases the likelihood of this happening? Your answers to this will probably include the quality of the teaching and maybe the personality of the teacher themselves. So this blog is a salute to the quality of the teacher, namely Mr Hay, who taught German at Biddulph Grammar School, then at Biddulph High School in the 1970s. I got a B in my German O level and have some good memories of German lessons and a school trip to St. Goar in 1976.
Today, 40 years later I find myself in Austria and I can still speak it, and as I speak it more and more comes flooding back, and usually I can hear Mr Hay's voice saying it.
And because I understand what is said to me, and can have a stab at saying something sensible back, I don't feel so isolated. I feel a sense of connectedness and belonging with strangers - I even helped an elderly Austrian gent find his way on the tram!
I kind of hope or wish that Mr Hay might still be alive so I can tell him what a good teacher he was. I think a lot of my teacher friends and relations these days feel undervalued, and unappreciated, so may this be an encouragement to you - that what you're doing now is making a difference to the students at the time, and that it lives on a long way into the future, not just as a grade on an exam paper but as something that enriches and empowers.
Vielen dank, Herr Hay.