Múinteoirí a Spreagann Éire 2019 2019
Teachers inspire selection7

His intervention in 1974 opened opportunities I would never otherwise have had, it facilitated my attending University and subsequently gave me the career I have had

The Teachers Inspire campaign received hundreds of excellent nominations for teachers from right across Ireland. Stories of inspiring teachers both past and present were shared, with insights into the positive effect they had had. Not all submissions were eligible to make it through to the next round of judging, but we felt some of these stories were too important not to share.

Submitted by Michael Ryan, nominating his former teacher Johnnie Chadda from Summerhill College, Sligo:

I started secondary school at a time when it was the norm to have entrance exams, to stream students based on perceived ability but in Summerhill at the time this was also combined with elective subjects chosen. For my choices I opted for Woodwork and Technical Drawings in preference to Latin and Greek, so I was allocated to one of the classes which only had pass Maths available.

Johnny Chadda was my Maths teacher in first year, he had a very unique style that I can still remember. As he described the "Null Set" he repeated "If I have nothing in my pocket, I have something in my pocket and that something is nothing!".

Before the end of first year Johnny went out of his way to meet my parents to suggest to them that I should be in the Honours Maths class, something that I managed to achieve but not without difficulty as facilitating this did not fit the timetable.

Johnny was a native of India and apart from teaching he also had a sales position and is famous in Sligo for the time, dedication and, I suspect, on occasions, the personal money he gave to Sligo Rovers over the many years he was their treasurer and more senior positions.

Johnny's concern, interest and charity was not limited to his students. His intervention in 1974 opened opportunities I would never otherwise have had, it facilitated my attending University and subsequently gave me the career I have had.

Johnny passed away last year. He was a memorable teacher who went way beyond the call of duty to help individuals and his community. I will always remember him as my most influential teacher.


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