Take a look at the big screen and there’s no shortage of inspiration for the kind of teacher Ms Mary-Jane (MJ) Logan hoped to be.
From Miss Honey in the classic film Matilda, to Mr Finn in School of Rock, Ms Logan notes how we celebrate teachers for their passion and wisdom beyond the classroom.
“It's not just a person who understands educational theory,” she explains. “It's a person who really loves what they do and wants to share that.”
Ms Logan recalls this message hitting close to home in a letter from one of her former students, Zufie, who compared her teaching to Robin Williams’s beloved character John Keating in Dead Poets Society.
“I always wanted to have a teacher that was like the ones on movies,” Zufie wrote. “Thank you for being the one teacher who motivated me to love and appreciate all types of literature.”
Zufies’s card was just one of many mementos in Ms Logan’s ‘feel good file,’ an overflowing collection of messages quietly reaffirming the impact of her 20-year teaching career.
Looking back on the card was a moving moment for Ms Logan, who remembers encouraging Zufie to reach for her dreams.
“She told me a long time ago that she wanted to audition for a drama school, and I said, ‘you should totally do it, don't listen to the people who say you can't,’” she remembers.
Years later, Zufie is working as an actor and producer and recently finished producing a documentary.
For Ms Logan, helping kids like Zufie achieve their potential will always be the best part of the job.
“If I see a passion in a kid, and they really want to do something, I will be the biggest advocate for them to see that through,” Ms Logan says.