Five Real Teachers Who Inspired Mr Bambuckle

I’ll preface this by saying I worked with some amazing teachers during my fifteen years in the classroom. My closest colleagues – my grade partners – each influenced my teaching experiences, and therefore the shaping of Mr Bambuckle. There is joy to be found cherry-picking the best ideas and traits from those around you and implementing them as your own. I have former colleagues to thank for providing rich pickings.

That being said, there are five special teachers who I drew from when writing Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables. I’d like you to meet them now.

1.  Mr Oli Magi (My Year 4 teacher and cricket coach)

Mr Magi was my teacher when I was ten years old. I was a very quiet student in class – very much someone with a low profile. I initially feared him as he was my first male teacher and he also had a strict reputation. What Mr Magi did for me, however, was empower me and help me find confidence at school. He gave me a job that terrified me, appointing me captain of the school cricket team. This did wonders for my self-esteem.

I wonder if you can spot me in the photos?

Mr Bambuckle believes in empowering his students. He takes them out of their comfort zone and helps them gain confidence. Just ask Evie Nightingale.

2.  Mr Andrew Phillips (My grade partner on Year 2, 2002)

There are not many teachers as artistically talented as Andrew Phillips. He films entire movies with his class, has them rebuild car engines and encourages them to create paintings that adults would be intimidated by. My favourite memory of teaching with Andrew is when we combined classes for a public speaking competition. We introduced each student with a song we thought matched their personality. Much laughter!

Mr Bambuckle is highly creative and encourages his students to stretch themselves imaginatively. He has them design apps, brainstorm ridiculous uses for bicycle and build drones from scratch. You can ask Carrot Grigson about the drones.

3.  Mr Rohan Fielder (colleague during my early years of teaching)

While I never had the privilege of grade-sharing with Mr Fielder, rumours of his hilarious classroom antics filled the staffroom (and playground!). He would dress up in silly outfits, write quirky songs in class (he is a very talented musician), make jokes, and generally have his class in stitches.

Mr Bambuckle is an ambassador of fun. He is light-hearted, has a quick wit, and loves to entertain. Who else sings rare Mongolian welcome songs to their class each morning?

4.  Mr Nigel Kleinveldt (Executive teacher and Head of Primary)

Those who know Mr Kleinveldt will all agree with me that he is a rock who cannot be shaken. When others are panicking, flustered or stressed, Mr Kleinvedlt is the calming influence. Nothing, no matter how big the problem, phases him. He is grounded and has others’ interests at heart.

Mr Bambuckle faces adversity with grace. The ever-grouchy Mr Sternblast is looking for a way to fire him, but Mr Bambuckle is a rock of calmness. He settles the children and buffers their insecurities with steadiness. Vex Vron knows all about this.

5.  Mrs Jo Grinham (grade partner for two years)

Jo Grinham touches everyone she meets with warmth and kindness. She is the most generous person I know. On my first day at a new school, she welcomed me with some of my favourite treats that she had secretly researched. Her effect on children is to behold. They feel elevated, valued and loved in her presence.

Mr Bambuckle cares. He knows his students’ names before he meets them. He cooks them breakfast. He makes them feel special. Harold McHagil can tell you a thing or two about that.

“Mr Bambuckle is an extraordinary teacher and this is an extraordinary book … Every kid needs to meet a Mr Bambuckle” The Sunday Telegraph

“Mr Bambuckle is an absolute delight to read aloud to middle Primary classes” ReadPlus

“… a deliciously original novel” Glee Books

“… a fast-paced story with sense and purpose” Bibliophile Mom

Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables is available at all good book stores.