Teachers:: The Influence of Teachers:: Teachers who Change Lives
Good teacher, bad teacher
I am sure that each of us has a memorable teacher. Some we remember because they were the best, and others because they were the worst. I remember them myself. I can still feel the tears welling in my eyes when I think of the science teacher who, having read my attendance record, asked "So will you be attending classes this year, or just showing up twice a week whether you feel like it or not?" The whole class laughed as I took my seat. I left school that year. I quit because what had been a new start had come to an abrupt halt in her classroom.
I also remember my best teacher, the year before. I was in contact with her when I finished writing my first fictional story. I wanted her to read it, to edit me, to tell me if I was any good. We talked on the phone and she told me that I didn't need her to tell me I was good. She said "Do you remember the essay I asked if I could keep?" and I said "Yes" it had been my best work ever, I still don't own a copy. "I take it out every year and read it to my class. It always brings them to tears. I tell them that it is the best work ever produced in my classroom and that I won't accept anything less from any of my students than their best."
I remember her because she brought out the best in me. I am a writer because of her class. She taught us to write that year. It was an ongoing year long project. At the end of the year we had to produce a one side of one page essay about a single event that shaped our lives. At the time that event was the death of my father, but now, I think that it was her class. I had produced an essay that she shared with the faculty first. That essay was our final, and when that was done we had two weeks to just read or write, whatever we wanted. All that was required was to read it aloud in front of the class. I couldn't do it. I didn't go back to school for days, dreading getting up in front of the class. I'd gotten up at the beginning of the year and been ridiculed for what I read, which was my favorite poem. Her class was the only reason I went to school at all. I got kicked out of school for not going, being so afraid to read aloud that it made me physically ill.
Make a Difference
Now, I would love to be able to teach. I can speak in front of others now, as I worked in a Bingo Hall for twenty years. But there's this problem, this panic that fills me when I try to speak "unscripted" it's like stage fright. I begin to shake all over and I can feel my face turning red.
If I could teach, I would teach children to keep thinking for themselves and to always question everything!
This world is full of people who are being led around by the invisible ring in their noses! People who buy clothes based on the label, who go to college to become something they can't even pronounce, because that's the "next big thing".
For instance, I went to apply to a college, I want to be a massage therapist because I know I'm good at it. I just need the license. You have to go to school for the license... They tried to talk me into something "more" because of my score on their exam. I want to do something I'm good at, something I enjoy that can benefit others, not something that might pay more!
The world is a crazy place filled with potential. You can be anything! There are people who would make great teachers that are not going into the profession because the money isn't as good as something else that they qualify for.
Being a teacher, and living in this world is not about the money, it's about leaving the world better than when you came in, it's about making a difference.
Make a difference. Think of what an influence someone has had on you, a teacher, a mentor, a friend. Write about the person who had an impact on your life. If you had a truly great teacher, tell the story! Ask at your local school if the teachers need help, an assistant to grade papers or help out with the kids. Inspire your kids to become teachers. Try volunteering at the school, it is a rewarding experience you will never forget. This was at least one thing I was able to do, volunteering for field trips. The kids actually reported back to me, if you can believe that!
Without good teachers there is no future. Please don't put them down, raise them up. They have a job that many of us could never do on our best day, and they do it every day, whether they feel like it or not, even on their worst day. I guess that I understand what that "bad teacher" was trying to say. She had to show up every day, maybe she was just asking me to do the same.
I didn't know then that Woody Allen had said "90% of life is showing up." I find now that there is an actual column, about teaching, with that title, and I'll quote it here, as it is relevant to this hub.
90% of life is showing up (copied from www.joannejacobs.com)
MAY 9, 2010 BY JOANNE
Nikka Landau teaches in Taiwan, where teacher absenteeism is not an issue. A teacher always shows up to work unless seriously ill. So do students.
Claire Landau teaches third grade in Philadelphia, where truancy is common for both teachers and students. She writes to her sister:
Your teachers and students go to school with a purpose. For a purpose. Here in Philly, school is a place you show up at (or don’t show up at) each day. This is true for students and it is clearly true for teachers as well.
Maybe I was born forty years too late, and should be growing up in Philly...
But seriously, even now, in this current economy, with cut backs and pay cuts, teachers give so much more than we deserve. Give them respect, and if anyone says they want to be a teacher, encourage them rather than discourage them. We would be nowhere without our teachers. The future is, almost literally, in their hands.
Taylor Mali, inspiring 1000 new Teachers: check in at http://taylormali.com/teachers/What_About_You.php
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To read about Taylor Mali, and his influence on me: Taylor Mali:: Inspiring Poet:: Inspiring 1000 New Teachers