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Study abroad : Subject Guides

World Teachers’ Day with Hotcourses Abroad

To celebrate World Teachers’ Day, here’s four former international students discussing their most memorable teaching experiences from around the globe.

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All around the world, the next generation of decision-makers are being educated to help them realise their potential. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. But, how do we help students to grow as individuals? Who supports them in being the best they can be? This falls on the shoulders of teachers, which is not an easy burden to carry. Without their hard work in encouraging and inspiring students, education would not be the weapon that we know it to be.



So, for World Teachers’ Day, we decided to celebrate the hard work they put in every day. We spoke to four former international students about their most memorable teachers who have had a real impact on their lives through their ongoing support. 


Name: Dilber Nurdinova

Profession: Senior Client Manager

Country: Lithuania


Who was your favourite teacher and why do you think that was?

“Every time I share my experience of school I always share my experience of my geography teacher. He was by far the most memorable person for me, the most educational. The reason why he was so amazing is that some teachers can be very theoretical and super serious and you have to try to learn by heart to prepare for exams but he was very different.”


“Everything that he taught me about geography, like mountains and rivers, how the clouds have been formed, everything was exemplified with a real example and a story. He made it so interesting! I could remember all of his stories and so I remembered everything for my tests. I was always getting [grade] 9 and 10 for my exams. He was very nice and kind but also knew when he needed to be firm with certain people who were joking around.”


How did he have a positive impact on you and your learning?

“The learning was very exciting. I had so much engagement and his stories were very interesting. I focused my attention throughout the class and so didn’t need to do too much revision.”


What made him stand out from other teachers?

“He made learning so interesting, unlike some other teachers that I had, like my history teacher who was always stressed and moody and there was a lot of theory in his lessons. He made learning very very boring and so I felt like I wasn’t engaged in the class.”


Name: Katie Duncan

Profession: Head of communications

Location: Bristol, UK


Who was your favourite teacher and why do you think that was?

“My favourite teacher was my A-level history teacher Mr Colquhoun, who sadly is no longer with us. He was more than a teacher to all of us, he was like a father figure and friend. He loved the Rolling Stones and to this day every time I hear Wild Horses I think of him and all the amazing memories.”


How did he have a positive impact on you and your learning?

“Mr Colquhoun had an incredible knack for incorporating fun into learning and making history come alive through humour. He knew all of us as individuals and made us all feel special.”


What made him stand out from other teachers?

“He helped me not just in my learning, but also my personal development and fitting into a new school. He inspired me to learn in my own way that suited me, and not to change to fit in. He gave me confidence in my abilities from a young age and I will always be grateful to him.”


Name: Griffin Shiel

Profession: Content Producer

Location: Horsham, UK


Who was your favourite teacher and why do you think that was?

“My favourite teacher was Mr. Lear, he taught me History and Politics at sixth form college. He was my favourite teacher for a number of reasons but mostly it was his incredible passion for the subject and the way he encouraged debate among the classes he taught. He was also genuinely one of the friendliest people I have had the good fortune of knowing.”


How did he have a positive impact on you and your learning?

“Prior to going to sixth form I was not a hard-working student and in hindsight this is because I hadn’t had a teacher who encouraged me or showed faith in me the same way that Mr Lear had. When I didn’t do work that was to the standard he expected of me, he would always tell me and push me to do better. Without him, I may not have gone on to do the degree I did and I probably would not have gotten the grades I needed to go to UEA. He has had a huge impact on my approach to studying, helping me go from a workshy underachiever to someone who could probably have afforded to do a bit less work at uni!”


What made him stand out from other teachers?

“Previous teachers I had never pushed me to do better and allowed me to be content with being an average student. Mr Lear made me realise that I could excel in History and Politics and didn’t let me rest on my laurels. Because he was such an inspirational teacher, it made me want to do well not just for myself but for him as well.”


Name: Franki Clemens

Profession: Editor

Location: South Africa


Who was your favourite teacher and why do you think that was?

“My favourite teacher was Mrs. Michelle, my high school Geography teacher. She was my favourite teacher because she brought the natural world into the classroom through animated conversations, images and stories. She always spoke about her subject matter with complete passion and made it feel very relevant to the world out there.”


How did she have a positive impact on you and your learning?

“She expected a lot from me, which encouraged me to dedicate myself even more. Mrs. Michelle had a very collaborative teaching style, always encouraging us to share our opinions and participate in class discussions. I felt confident in her classes to answer questions – she made everyone feel valued and spoke to us like we were adults.”


What made her stand out from other teachers?

“Mrs. Michelle’s classes felt more like university lectures than high school lessons. We’d discuss in-depth real-world issues collectively as a class, while Mrs. Michelle would generously share her personal experiences of travelling the world. It made her subject matter really come to life for us and inspired me to want to discover different cultures and places. To this day, I’m still very interested in all things related to Geography (e.g. cultures, trade, natural resources, urban/ rural population trends and the natural world), all thanks to Mrs. Michelle.”


These stories remind us that our favourite teachers can have a profound impact on our education and personal development.


If you’re feeling inspired to become a teacher, explore our range of teaching courses here!

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