Inspirational teacher Jennifer Eley is celebrating her forty-fifth year of teaching, a remarkable achievement made all the more extraordinary by the fact she has been teaching at the same school in Timperley for most of her career.
Jennifer, who joined Forest Preparatory School in 1979, has taught hundreds of children during her time at the school and often teaches the children of former pupils. She also taught the school’s current Deputy Head, Graeme Booth, when he was a Forest pupil.
Jennifer began her teaching career at a boys’ boarding school, a job she thoroughly enjoyed but moved to Forest in order to find a better balance between her work and home life.
The school, which currently has around 200 pupils aged 2 to eleven, has changed and grown over the last 40 years but Jennifer says it has maintained its unique feel.
“Forest has a special warmth; I describe it as a small school with a big heart. The staff are brilliant, and I see them as friends as well as colleagues. We have a lot of fun and we laugh a lot. Everyone looks after each other.”
Jennifer has always taught Year 3 throughout her time at Forest. She says, “Year 3 is an important transition year as children enter the Upper School for the first time, and it is my aim to make the year a very memorable one. My classroom is full of objects and displays that are aimed at inspiring and engaging the children.”
When asked about what she is most proud of, Jennifer says she is always delighted when former pupils and parents get in touch. “So many ex-pupils come back to see me or send me emails and photos and I love to hear from them. I remember staying up all night to watch James Guy swim in the Olympic Games in Rio.”
Teaching styles have moved on considerably in the last 45 years. As Jennifer says, when she began teaching it was “chalk and talk” whereas computers and the internet have now brought teaching to life.
Jennifer says she has no plans to stop teaching and wants to carry on working as long as she can to continue to inspire and engage future Forest pupils. “I just love my job and it doesn’t matter how old you are, there is always something new you can learn.”