"To my earliest teachers... I can never repay what you gave me."

Bern Morley


I always thought that I was unique in my good fortune; that to get such amazing teachers all throughout my schooling years was just a fluke. Yet now, as a mother myself, I’ve realised that teachers, all teachers are just simply a wonderful kind of people.

Let’s face it, not one of them would be doing it for the serenity or the pay cheque, and despite the perception that they get loads of holidays and a 9-3 workday, the reality is that they work long, hard and often throughout the holiday period to prepare for the classroom and ensure that our children will receive the education they deserve.

It would be hard to pinpoint the one teacher who made a difference in either my life or my children’s lives. There have simply been too many good ones. I can, however, share some beautiful stories.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by OfficeMax. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

In year 4, I was having a tough time making friends. This coincided with a terrible haircut that effectively left me looking like a boy. I was incredibly and obviously lonely so my teacher, Mr Arthurs, decided like the amazing teacher that he was to step in and help me out.

He engaged me to help with a ‘buddy bench’. What’s a buddy bench you ask? Good question because I too was baffled. As it turned out, Mr Arthurs was aware of quite a few kids who were struggling to find their place in the playground and to make friends. So I, along with a few other equally socially awkward year 4 children, painted a park bench in all the colours of the rainbow.

Finally, we painted the words ‘Buddy Bench’ upon it and placed it in the playground. It was unveiled on a sunny Friday in October in assembly. The purpose of the buddy bench, the assembly was told, was to be a place for those who needed a buddy, or a friend, to sit upon at lunch time.

The best teacher’s always look out for you.

At first I was hesitant, I remember sitting there that very first lunchtime by myself, eating my vegemite sandwich, looking at my feet. Sure Mr Arthurs was watching me covertly from around the side of the building.


I remember thinking that it was a huge mistake and was about to make my move to the library, my only safe haven, only to look up and see a freckly faced girl I’d not seen before, smiling at me. I smiled back and she sat down.

Maybe it was because she was a good talker or maybe it’s because you are just meant to be friends with certain people, but before I knew it, we were firm and fast friends. And we still are to this day.

I have Mr Arthurs to thank for this. This wasn’t in his ‘contract’. He didn’t have to care about his students outside the classroom but he did. And this is what makes teachers such beautiful people.

There is something within each of them that doesn’t care about the test scores or the highest achiever, they just genuinely care about each and every student that they come into contact with.

Luckily there is a small payoff for teachers. Like being able to overhear hilarious (and sometimes disturbing) conversations like these:

  • Student 1: “I can spell my mum’s name! – M-U-M”    Student 2: “Wow! That’s my mum’s name too!!”
  • “I have a tazer in my backpack, wanna see?”
  • “I was introducing Lego to my 1st graders. We were talking about why the Lego needs to stay in the classroom. 1st grader raises her hand and says: ‘And if you even steal one Lego from Ms. Jeffanie’s room you’ll go to juvie and they’ll put pepper spray in your eye and it’ll hurt for a week.’”

I often wonder what stories my own seven-year-old takes to school and I can only imagine that one joy of teaching must be these hilarious stories and interactions.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that our first teachers are the ones we can thank for helping us become the person we are today. In one way or another, they help and influence us in ways that we can never hope to repay.

Do you remember the teacher that helped make you the person you are today? How did they influence you?

Here’s an ode to some of our favourite fictional teachers..

Exceptional teachers do more than just teach – they inspire, nurture and encourage students to build knowledge, confidence and life-skills.

A Day Made Better rewards and recognises exceptional primary school teachers across the country by giving them the recognition they deserve.

This year, 10 exceptional teachers will be recognised for their inspirational work with a surprise event, $2,000 of OfficeMax arts, crafts, stationery and office supplies for their classroom, plus an Apple iPad.

So if you know of a primary school teacher that goes above and beyond in their classroom, show your support for them today at