First, Ms Crowley: She gave me a prize! I was ten. I had never got a prize/award for school before. She chose me as 2nd place in the class for that year. How or why she chose that I don't know. But I do know I drew on that experience for the rest of my school life. Like a golfer winning one of the 'Majors', it gave me the confidence, the conviction, that "I CAN do this."
Then Pol McMurchu: our Irish teacher. He was firm, very firm, but fair, and he talked to us 16 and 17 year olds almost like equals (a teacher can't allow the class be equal to him/herself or the class will run amok). He was also damned good at his subject--he worked us hard but he was right to. He loved his job, and he'd never admit it in these words, but he loved us.
Then there was Fr. Godfrey: He was the principal of our small secondary school: He--and all the priests there (back in the day when there were still priests)--did so much. They were teachers but my God, they should have been paid double. Evey kid knows the difference between the teachers who try and the teachers who really really try. They cared about us, a lot, and I'm sure we realised it at the time but later in life you really realise it. (Nearly all those priests are dead now, but hey, here's to you guys. Thank you.)
And then there was Andy Burke: At college he, as a man in his final year before retirement, just exuded passion for his two subjects and passion for us students looking on our work as an opportunity to really make a positive difference with the people we work for. What is it that I studied? Teaching! I am now a primary school teacher myself ;)
(PS I call these people 'saints' only 3/4 jokingly--I read a review of a book about great saints and the reviewer wrote that the author came to a very simple conclusion about WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES PEOPLE SAINTS? Just what is the difference between us and them? "They try harder".)