Today is International Women’s Day. Yay women!
I thought it was fitting to do a tag related to women today, seeing as it’s International Women’s Day. Now, this isn’t actually a tag as such, but I’m sure plenty of people have done it over the years so I’m going to call it one.
Over the past twenty one years there have been a lot of women who have inspired me. My mum and my grandma Jocie, obviously. Authors such as Tamora Pierce and J.K Rowling who showed me that women can be successful fantasy authors. Actresses such as Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, and Judie Dench who showed me that it’s possible to be smart, talented, and beautiful all at the same time. But I don’t want to talk about any of those women today. They’re talked about enough, and my mum and my grandma know how awesome they are. Instead I want to talk about a woman who had a huge impact on my life as a teenager and into my life as a adult, and who I feel really doesn’t get the praise she deserves.
Unless you attended Girton Grammar School, the name Robyn MacCulloch probably doesn’t mean anything to you. If you did go to Girton, however, you probably don’t even need to read what I’m about to say. Mrs MacCulloch (as I’ll always know her) is the Deputy Head and Year 12 history teacher at my old high school, and hands down one of the most inspirational women I’ve ever met.
A lot of people are a bit scared of her when they first start at Girton (or all the way through in some cases). She’s strict, she demands respect for her, the school, and general society, and there’s just something about the way her hair is always perfectly straight except for during Foundation Day and Speech Night rehearsals when it seems to stand on end that makes her a bit intimidating.
I suppose I first saw her in a different light during the music tour to China in 2008, where I can vividly remember her sitting cross legged on a bed wearing a pink silk suit, laughing with the rest of us. After that, I stopped seeing her as the figure who seemed to tower above everyone else (despite her size) and started seeing her as an incredible, powerful woman.
Mrs MacCulloch is without a doubt the reason I chose to pursue history throughout university and now into the beginnings of post-grad. Her passion for the subject shines through to those she teaches, and I still have all of my material from her class because the amount of knowledge in there is so valuable I can’t bear to give it away. She’s taught history at the Year 12 level for years, and her wisdom and guidance was definitely a contributing factor to my high grade in the subject. Her commitment to her students was outstanding, I remember in the weeks before our final exam I could hand her a completed practice exam first thing in the morning and she’d have it back to me, marked and with extensive feedback on how I could improve, by the end of the school day. She sat with a group of us before our final exam and helped us go over historiography quotes. She came to the exam room to wish us luck. Mrs MacCulloch is truly the definitely of an incredible teacher, and Girton is lucky to have her.
If I had to pick one person in the world who has inspired me the most, it would probably have to be Robyn MacCulloch. She is a truly incredible woman, and I will never stop being grateful that it was her who truly sparked my passion for history, for learning, and for sharing my knowledge with others.