The power of words

By Kirstin Buick
03 November 2013

As a young journalist, meeting the MySchool Dream School English teacher Tim Butcher was wonderful – and yet terrifying – for me.

As a young journalist, meeting the MySchool Dream School English teacher Tim Butcher was wonderful – and yet terrifying – for me.

Here was a man who had written for The Daily Telegraph, one of the world’s most respected papers. He’s worked as a war correspondent on far-flung corners of the globe. He’s written two incredible novels, Blood River and Chasing the Devil – the former of which I read alongside a university set work book, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Here was at the top of his field – a field in which I’m just a fledgling. And – horror upon horrors –  now I would have to interview him.

And so we sat, one of the most respected writers in the world and I, in an empty classroom at St Cyprians. I stumbled through a list of questions that I had asked all the teachers, for an article published in the YOU, Huisgenoot and Drum last month. He was kind, albeit slightly bemused by me.

Afterwards, I sat (somewhat sheepishly) in the back of the class he gave on the power of words, featured in episode 4. But my embarrassment quickly ebbed away as I watched Tim teach.

It must have been horribly frustrating for Tim, to give a lesson to a class full of grumpy teenagers falling asleep at their desks, and counting down the minutes until they would be reunited with their beloved iPads.

But while it may not have seemed like it, I do know that Tim touched a few hearts in that classroom that day – perhaps Monique, Thandeka, and Simphiwe – but there was another student he got through to that day. Me. Hidden behind one of the cameras, I hung onto his every word.

“Words are like water,” he told the class. “A little drop of water by itself doesn’t make a difference, but it’s the most powerful element in the world. It can shape mountains, shape landscapes.”

It was just what I needed to hear, enough to inspire me to spend the night wide-eyed, feverishly hammering away at the keys on my laptop, ploughing into the first of many magazine articles I would write on Dream School.

I know that the whole point of the show was to inspire these disillusioned teens to get back on track in terms of education, to show them I bit of the magic that knowledge can bring.

So I hope no one minded that I took a little of that magic home too that day.

Thanks, Tim.

-          KIRSTIN BUICK

YOU writer Kirstin Buick had a bird’s eye view of the goings-on on the set of Dream School. Keep up to date with her weekly blog for exclusive behind-the-scenes info. Follow her on Twitter for more.

Catch  MySchool Dream School every Sunday at 5 pm on M-Net, M-Net HD, Mzanzi Magic and M-Net Series Channel.

Visit The MySchool Dream School website for more.

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