“If you cried, she was there with a shoulder to cry on.”
That’s how one pupil in Aberdeenshire described the impact her most inspirational teacher had on her.
Pupils from across the region are being encouraged to recognise some of the great work going on in their schools by sharing their experiences and photos using the #ilovemyschool hashtag.
Speaking to the Evening Express, Portlethen Academy pupil Abbie Johnson said her history teacher Mrs Ferguson went “above and beyond” for her.
The 15-year-old said: “My history teacher Mrs Ferguson really changed how I saw school because I was bullied physically, verbally and on social media.
“I’ve always had severe anxiety and that started with coming to school and getting on the bus.
“She really helped my confidence in my school work because I’m not at all confident and she went above and beyond.
“She spent her own money on little things to help like stress toys and took me out of class to talk and she just completely put herself into helping me as a person and not just as a pupil.
“She made learning interesting, fun and a relaxed environment.
“And for me getting as anxious as I do, it was important that I was comfortable. If you cried she was there with a shoulder to cry on. She was more of a friend than a teacher and she is just such an amazing person.”
And Abbie Noon, 15, from Mearns Academy, also had a teacher who supported her when she was bullied.
She said she found it difficult to deal with some children at the school.
She said: “There was an RME teacher Mrs McGillivray. She always made me feel better. She was very inclusive of everybody.
“It was always hard because my bullies were in my religious class and she saw how I felt.
“She always made me feel like I had somebody to speak to if I needed to.”
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The campaign has been set up by the council to remind teachers and those looking for employment in the education sector just how important the role is.
Parents, teachers, staff and members of the public can all take part by telling their story about an inspirational teacher.
Fifth year Westhill Academy pupil Chloe Davidson said her biology teacher Miss Docherty helped support her through anxiety.
She said: “She was so helpful. If there were things I couldn’t do, like group talks, she would make sure nobody else knew that I was struggling.
“She would give me something else to do and make it look like it was a totally normal thing.
“So now that I’m in fifth year, she still looks out for me and makes sure that we’re all feeling particularly comfortable in our class.
“She’s so positive and so enthusiastic about the things she teaches, it’s not just like she’s reading from a slide.
“She’s very interested in the things she’s teaching.”
Laurence Findlay, director of children’s services at Aberdeenshire Council, is keen to recognise the difference each and every good teacher can make.
He said: “At the end of another challenging year, I can’t thank all of our teachers and support staff across Aberdeenshire enough.
“Most of us can recall at least one teacher or important person in our lives who inspired us, one whom we felt really believed in us or one who gave us that nudge we needed at the time we needed it.
“Teachers and the schools that support them really do change lives.
“All too often we’re caught up in what we don’t get right but there’s so much that we do.
“This is about sharing that and marking the importance of such a worthwhile profession.”
Councillor Gillian Owen, chairwoman of the education and children’s services committee, lives in Ellon and enjoys visiting local schools to see how they are getting on.
She said: “It’s always an absolute pleasure to visit my local schools.
“It’s one thing reading about the theory through committee papers and another to see for myself just how much is being achieved within each and every school setting.
“I’m absolutely an advocate for this #ilovemyschool campaign and I hope that every teacher, whether they voice it or not this week, takes the time to reflect on what they’ve achieved just being there for these young people.”