Some very important memories have come back strongly to me this week.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to Park School in Barnstaple on Thursday, to work with Year 8 on an Enterprise Day - a challenge to get them to think about designing and managing the London Olympics of next year. In teams, they had to work out schedules of events and entertainments, budgets, catering, design mascots, T-shirts, tickets, a whole range of problems.
Then came the sting - they had to perform a presentation to the whole of the rest of the year, marked by 5 evil judges (including me). Nerve wracking or what?
It was a fantastic day. I've said this before, and I'll say it again, and many times I suspect. Young people get such a panning in the press that you'd think they all carry knives and do little but mug old ladies. But the kids I met were great, so enthusiastic, full of energy and ideas, not to mention creativity. I was hugely impressed and found it a privilege working with them.
But the point of this blog is more about the teachers and classroom assistants I had the pleasure of meeting. Their work is so important, yet so often undervalued by society, when what they do should (in the humble view of the Hall) be held in the highest of esteem.
I've mentioned before that without the intervention of 2 wonderful teachers from my formative years, I doubt I'd have made much of my life. On Thurs, I saw that all over again, as a range of teachers inspired the youngsters to find a vision, believe in it, and see it through. Now that's what I call teaching, and it took me back to when I was 14, and the way Mr Warr and Mr Lewis helped me.
So there was a little misty nostalgia (which I hope I disguised), and a great day. Thanks to one and all at Park for making me so welcome, and congratulations and commendations on your efforts. You all deserved to win in my view!