Join us in wishing Louise Wells, Head Teacher of Battle Hill Primary School, a lovely retirement! Beginning in 1983, Mrs Wells has dedicated almost 40 years of her life to the school, its teachers, and most importantly its pupils! With her teaching career spanning over three generations of pupils, there is clearly a reason why her school has been kept in such high esteem throughout local families. Mrs Wells’s incredible career, kind nature and unwavering patience place her as nothing short of a super-woman!
Before she retires at the end of this term, Mrs Wells has been so kind as to answer some of our questions. Read on to find out about her experience, her own memories of school and what sound advice she has to offer.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a teacher?
No, not until I did a work placement in my old Reception class when I was 17. Happy memories of my own time in school persuaded me it was a good idea. When I was little I wanted to be either a ballerina (I had zero talent!) or a presenter on Blue Peter, perhaps because I love sticky-back plastic!
What’s the most important thing about being a teacher?
There are many important things. The best teachers are those who forge excellent, respectful relationships with the children because then the sky’s the limit. I recall an older teacher giving me some advice before my first parents’ evening: ‘Remember they’re all someone’s bairn!’
What are the most challenging things about being a teacher?
The only constant, is change!
People who think we go home at half past three and have fourteen weeks holiday a year.
Dare I say parents who think their child can do no wrong?
Could you guess how many students you have taught?
Well, in 30 years as a class teacher that must be over 800, and as Headteacher for the last 8 years, at least another 700! I wish I could say I remembered all of their names, but I’m much better with faces! It’s fantastic to have some of the children of children I used to teach at Battle Hill, but it definitely made me feel old when the grandchildren started arriving!
What’s your favourite subject to teach?
That’s a tricky one, as the beauty of being a primary school teacher is that you get to teach the whole curriculum. I would have to say PE if pushed, as I love to see the delight on the children’s faces when they surprise themselves mastering new skills or scoring a goal.
What makes a good teacher?
I’ve seen so many great ones and hopefully learned from them over the years. Consistency, kindness and a desire to make sure that every child meets their potential are vital. Excellent teachers really get to know their children and understand how to help them.
Who was your favourite teacher and why?
Maths was a challenge for me at secondary school, until I was lucky enough to get a teacher in Y4 (now Y10) called Tim Scratcherd and everything clicked into place. I firmly believe I wouldn’t have passed O level maths if not for him, so wouldn’t have been able to go into teaching. He was so cool with long hair, platform shoes and flared pants (it was the 70s!) and he must have really loved my class as he took us Youth Hostelling in the Lake District.
Did you enjoy school?
I certainly loved primary school and have wonderful memories of afternoons in the sun playing rounders. Secondary school was a different story! I didn’t go to school around here and won’t name names, but I feel lucky to have escaped in one piece!
Whilst you have undoubtedly inspired many children, who inspires you?
I’ve been inspired by seeing the dedication of the professionals I’ve worked with over the years in Wallsend and at Battle Hill Primary in particular.
For any young people reading this, why should they consider a career in teaching?
Although there are many challenges and it certainly isn’t the career I went into 40 years ago, I can honestly say I’ve never been bored. You can’t predict what children are going to say or do and they’re often hilarious.
The best teachers can make a difference to children’s lives and I love it when I see ex-pupils who have happy memories of their time with me. I’m proud to say many of them have gone on to be really successful.
Here at Wallsend Online, we would like to say a huge thank you to Mrs Wells for the dedication, hard work and love she has given the children of our community. We wish Mrs Wells all the best for the future, and we hope she enjoys her retirement, she most certainly deserves it!