YOU never forget a good teacher. You probably never forget a bad one either, but it’s the inspiring, encouraging teachers that sit on your shoulder through life.

The teacher I remember most is Mr Houston from middle school. He was a quietly spoken, unassuming English teacher and ran the school library. He was an ordinary looking man; balding, middle-aged, in a brown suit and sensible shoes, no jokes or matey banter with his pupils. But I’ve never forgotten him.

It was Mr Houston who saw a bit of a spark in me, because I liked writing stories. He gently encouraged my love of reading and creative writing. I think it’s because of him that decided I wanted to write for a living.

Decades have passed since I was in that little school library at middle school, but I’ve often thought of Mr Houston, standing quietly among the books.

It isn’t always the showy teachers you remember, or the rousing Dead Poet’s Society moments. It’s often the ones who take the time to show an interest, to nurture a pupil and nudge them in the right direction who turn out to be the most influential.

An inspiring teacher can make a significant and lasting difference to a pupil’s life. You only have to watch the moving clip from Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire, where Thornhill Academy pupil Musharaf Asghar overcame his stammer while reading a speech to music, to feel your soul stirred by the power of teaching. That boy had barely been able speak at school but his teacher, Mr Burton, had a hunch and went the extra mile to help him - and changed his life in the process.

The power of good teaching has been highlighted recently in the T&A’s Education Awards. Secondary School Teacher winner Freddie Marshall, from Bradford Academy, has set up a scholars programme “pushing the most able students in this area”.

Says Mr Marshall: “It really struck me...the difference in aspirations between some of the really bright students here and hard-working students, compared to what I’d imagined to be the case at grammar schools and private schools.

“To give students the best possible chance of succeeding in life, you have to challenge what they think is possible for themselves. It’s about pushing students to greater heights, whatever background they come from. If you look hard enough, you find there are a hell of a lot of students who can achieve so much”...”if you make them believe in themselves.”

Primary School Teacher winner Rebecca Petrie, from Crossflatts Primary, says she has “the best job in the world”. With a number of pupils in her class with a visual impairment, she was awarded for making sure they have access to the best opportunities. “Every child in my class gets that chance,” she says.

Neill Coates from Beckfoot Priestthorpe, who won the Newcomer award, sums up the joy of teaching: “I know it sounds corny, but that magical moment when they get something.”

And that, surely, is what makes teaching “the best job in the world”. That moment when your class, or even just one pupil, gets something. And that learning process can shape the rest of a child’s life.

This is a tough time for teachers, working under complex restrictions to engage children who have spent months out of the classroom. The T&A is highlighting the district’s schools, and teachers, promoting everything from prize-giving to Halloween artwork. Tell us all about your school events here