Teachers are some of the most important people in our society because they nurture and educate the minds that become our future. They generate passion, curiosity and perseverance for what sets our minds on fire. I doubt anyone would argue with the fact that teachers are useful and necessary but I don’t think that they quite receive the credit they deserve. Primary school teachers, for example, may not be teaching rocket science but the amount of educational engagement that is encouraged in adolescence sets up an entire lifetime of personal habits in each child.
– It’s important to note in this blog post that I am speaking generally but that does not mean that these ideas relate universally to every person’s experience. You literally cannot speak for humans universally because we are all so individual. Some people can change and attitudes will develop over time but I do believe that regardless of when this kicks off for you, a good teacher makes a huge difference for a student. –
If you can look back on your school days with super fond memories for one or more of your teachers then you are a lucky person. In most cases, the relationship with your teacher will affect how much you enjoyed a subject, excelled within it and probably still find an interest for. This is certain for every single person, but if an adult’s career is focussed in relation to a school subject, they probably loved that subject in school. These passions were fostered and nurtured by our teachers. It’s not often that you wouldn’t get on a with a teacher in a subject you love because bonds form over shared interests.
For example, my favourite subject in school was English. Miss A was the best teacher and I was lucky enough to have her through my Int 2, Higher and Advanced Higher years of English. She was formal, relatively strict but still fun and engaging. She selected great texts and so it was easy to study the stories that we loved. She creates hard working students and would mould you into a great student by constantly telling you when your writing was clumsy (maybe still an issue, but I try for you, Miss A). I have always loved reading and writing since I was very young – my primary 1 teacher said I would be the next J.K. Rowling, which was maybe a little ambitious but it explains how much I liked to write as a 5 year old) – I probably would’ve done English all the way through school even if I’d had a different teacher, but there was something about the way Miss A could engage students that made her so special. Studying literature is the one thing I miss the most about being in school and part of me wishes I got to do some of that at uni, not that I know what I would do with an English degree.
Another one of my favourite teachers, is now one of my favourite women. I loved doing Drama in school but I literally only got to touch the subject in my final year of high school. The school didn’t offer first year classes in drama when I was starting out and that bummed me out. By the time I was in 6th year and had the scope to do subjects just for fun, I was allowed to crash straight into Higher Drama. It was challenging for me because a drama essay is not the same as an English essay and I had to re-programme my essay writing habits to suit this new subject. I also had some crazy dancer habits to shake off for my acting performances. I can still hear “plant your feet, Katie! Stop moving around!” But I love a challenge and I loved my one-year adventure into the world of studying Drama. But Mrs A was more than just a teacher. From meeting her as basically an adult, we were able to create a more informal relationship and she became not just a friend, but more importantly, a bit of a mentor. We bonded over our love for theatre and I love chatting to her about shows. Even though I’ve been out of school for two years now, I still get to chat to her every now and then, when we’re recommending different shows to one another. She inspired me to think in different ways, not just in relation to Drama but in relation to how I see the world and I’m so grateful to have that sort of mentorship that is above and beyond her job as a teacher.
The other thing we have to remember is that teachers are people too and they can also have differing opinions on their many students. We make their lives easier when we are eager to learn from them and they obviously have a passion for the subject, which they want to pass on. Equally, we can have interesting conversation with them in regards to their subject, challenge them and potentially foster mutually appreciative relationships with them. Our ability to give content back to our teacher generally develops the older we get, we have more confidence to speak our mind and more experience with which to force our curiosity. I always loved the nature of 5th and 6th year classes because the teachers were able to speak to you like humans rather than just pupils because as adults you were able to actually contribute rather than just listen and learn. Plus with the smaller class sizes there is more opportunity to have one on one conversations.
Our school days shape who we become. When we’re in school, we’re at the most malleable stage of our lives and we are extremely influenceable so it’s hugely important that we are guided through this time by teachers who encourage our need to gather information. This is my thank you to Miss A, Mrs A and every other teacher who has inspired my demand for knowledge.