My Inspirational Teacher: by TV presenter Andy Akinwolere
As part of our My Inspirational Teacher series we talk to Andy Akinwolere, the British TV presenter who has appeared on many shows including Blue Peter, Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge and Inside Out. Andy is an ambassador for the Street Child World Cup – a global movement to help street children get safety, support and opportunities.
Who was the teacher, or person, who really mattered in your life?
Through the years so many people have come in and out of my life. I remember my teacher Mrs Kelly when I was in primary school – she was firm but fair. She gave me my first chance to sing in public in the school choir. Perhaps that’s where I got my first taste for the limelight. Both my parents have been very influential in my life too – they have sacrificed a lot for their kids to have a great education and the best opportunities. For that I’ll forever be grateful.
What did they say or do to make them so special?
i guess that’s what I mentioned above.
What was the moment you realised this person was influential to you?
As I’ve grown up my parents’ teachings of independence and self-reliance have been so important to my development. They might not always have understood where I was going but they’ve always shown their support whichever way they know best.
Would you have been successful without this person’s encouragement?
It’s tough to say because success is subjective. I’m lucky to have done so many amazing things but there is still so much more I’d like to achieve and do. They are always there and they are extremely honest people, my parents and family. They keep me pretty grounded and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Did you stay in touch with them?
I speak to my parents all the time. Strangely, my teacher Mrs Kelly sent me a letter when I was kicked off the TV show Dancing On Ice in the first round. She made me cry. She wrote that it was a travesty that I was kicked off so soon. It’s high praise indeed, as through the letter I found out she was also a professional dancer in her youth. Remembering her as a teacher, she was hard to please and always expected high standards.
Did you ever tell them what they meant to you?
I tell my parents all the time how glad I am for what they’ve done for us. Mrs Kelly, never. I was simply too young. Maybe one day.
Who in the world today would you describe as inspirational?
I find so many people inspirational, from social workers and school teachers, people who volunteer their time to people in need, people who are able to stand up for injustice – the list goes on. I’m inspired by every day people who push themselves to the best of their ability and show passion for what they do.
Find out more about Andy on his website.