Have you thought about more than 12 years of your formative life in school and the numerous people having a go at shaping who you are?
Teachers have contributed to what makes you value the best in you, and the intellectual or academic value you leave with. No doubt, those teachers who showed you the magnanimous potential of your spirit were the ones always spoken about years later. They are the ones who showed you that ‘it’s okay, it will get better’, ‘mistakes are human; you’ll learn’, ‘you can do it and be proud’, and ‘a bit more effort and you’ll be far ahead’. They are the ones who showed you that there is no point hindering your progress.
I remember a Music teacher who was always the ‘brightest face’ you saw when you entered the school. She always engaged you in conversation that made you feel good about being there. She’d see you days or months later and still take off the conversation from where she left the last time she spoke to you. She engaged students so that they believed in themselves. I also remember the ones who choked students into believing that they were not potentially good enough and there had to be obstacles before they reached their goals.
If one had to list the best qualities of a teacher who’s made a positive impact on your life, I think the following would rank high. They are the teachers who:
- Took an interest in what I enjoyed doing
- Encouraged me, especially when I did well
- Helped me do things differently so I’d understand it better
- Overlooked my indiscretions and understood the impact of the ‘not yet fully-formed’ frontal lobes
- Sat me down and took the time to explain aspects of life I found difficult to understand
- Helped me look at ways I could further my thirst for learning
- Noticed my discomfort and made me feel okay
- Helped me explore outside avenues to further my passion
- Helped me realize my conscience
- Guided me to see my worth when my parents could not help me
- Made me laugh, especially in serious moments
Years later, there are many occasions when topics of teachers and schooling experiences come up and there are two things that are brought up: the wickedly bad trolls we’d like to believe were disguised as teachers and the teachers you’d wish to seek out and hug for the difference they’ve made in your life.
Imagine going to a reunion of your Grade 12 class after 30 years and you had to speak about the teachers who’ve made a great impact on you, what would you say. More importantly, how would you model yourself on those great people in treating others and furthering their life goals and lifting their spirits?
In the words of John Wesley, ‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.’
What better way to celebrate a teacher, but by living by those words.
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