Bury St Edmunds/Beyton: Headteacher of Howard Community School passes torch to a former pupil

A TEACHER at the end of her career has passed ‘the torch’ to a former pupil she nicknamed “bouncy Baxter” for his enthusiasm.

Lynne Johnson, 58, has retired from Howard Community Primary School in Bury St Edmunds after a teaching career spanning 37 years.

And just starting out on his career in education is Jason Baxter, 22, a former pupil of Mrs Johnson’s at Howard Primary who is taking on her old job.

Mr Baxter, who lives only a stone’s throw from the school in Hodson Close, will certainly be familiar with his surroundings.

He remembers Mrs Johnson as “an inspirational teacher who spurred you on to do well and made the classroom an exciting place to be”.

He said she used to call him “bouncy Baxter” for his enthusiasm, the same enthusiasm Mrs Johnson is sure he will bring to the classroom as a teacher from September.

He said he hoped “just to bring an excitement to the school and be as inspirational to the pupils as she was to me and hopefully they will remember me like I remember her”.

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He added: “You always look back at the teachers you have had from your past and you think ‘I want to be like her and be as successful as she was as well’.”

Mrs Johnson, a mother of two from nearby Beyton, taught Mr Baxter for a year. She said: “He was always a lively, energetic child with a thirst for learning. I think it’s lovely I have had some part in that learning journey. It’s like the Olympic flame.”

Mr Baxter, who is also a former pupil of Howard Middle School and County Upper School in Bury, qualified at the end of last year after studying at Bangor University in Wales and has enjoyed a full year’s teaching.

Mrs Johnson taught at Howard Primary for 21 years before retiring last term.

Staff held a leaving party in her honour which was also attended by former colleagues and she has been presented with a number of special gifts, including a quilt which the children created.

Mrs Johnson said: “I have just always loved learning and I think that’s the secret.

“In my view teaching is all about encouraging a love for learning, and if you can do that it’s a lifelong enjoyment.”

Mrs Johnson has kicked off her retirement by being a volunteer at the London 2012 Olympic Games and another of her ventures is a three-month trip around Australasia taking in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Bali.

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